In Alabama, possession of marijuana is a Class A Misdemeanor criminal offense punishable by a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a fine of up to $6,000.

Get caught a second time and minor marijuana possession becomes a Class C felony, carrying with it the possibility of a maximum 10 years imprisonment – but not less than one year and a day. The maximum fine for a second offense rises to $15,000. For possession of any amount over one kilogram, the crime is a felony, punishable by 1 – 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

Trafficking in Cannabis

If you sell, grow or manufacture cannabis products in Alabama you are classed as a ‘trafficker of cannabis,’ which is a felony offense. The penalties are:

  • For an amount greater than one kilogram (2.2 lbs) but less than 100 lbs: a minimum of three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000
  • For an amount greater than 100 lbs but less than 500 lbs: a minimum of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000
  • For an amount up to 1000 lbs, a minimum of 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000
  • Any amount of 1,000 lbs or greater: life imprisonment, without the possibility of parole.
  • Selling marijuana within a three-mile radius of a school or public housing project: add five years to the sentence for the sale
  • Sale to minors (under 18): increase the penalty by 10 years to life in prison, and no suspension or probation can be granted to this sentence
  • The possession or sale of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 but
  • Paraphernalia sold to a minor at least three years younger than the seller becomes a felony offense, punishable by 2 – 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Any conviction for possession, sale, manufacture or cultivation will result in the suspension of the offender’s driver’s license for a period of six months.

Earlier this year (2010), Bill HB207 won a legislative committee vote; the Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act was approved (but not passed) by the House Judiciary Committee back in April.

Michael Phillips, for whom the bill is named, was attending the Drug Policy Alliance conference in New Orleans when he died aged just 38. Phillips, who had a brain tumor that caused him to suffer frequent seizures, was a passionate fighter for the legalization of medical marijuana.

Bill HB207 would allow patients suffering from cancer or other serious medical conditions to possess up to 2.5 oz of marijuana and to cultivate their own cannabis if they wish. Licensed marijuana dispensaries would be set up where patients in possession of a state-issued identification card could get their medicine.

A revised bill will go before the legislature next (2011) session.


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Author Dianne Morgan

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