Alabama Contemplates Reduced Penalties For Personal Pot Possession

That’s right, while the one-time senator for Alabama, Jeff Sessions, is busy trying to fight back the tide of marijuana reform, a bipartisan push in the Alabama House and Senate aims to decriminalize the personal possession of marijuana.

Alabama House Bill 272 and Senate Bill 251 – considered companion bills –  were sponsored by Rep. Patricia Todd (D-54th District) and Sen. Dick Brewbaker (R-25th District) respectively.

Under Alabama’s existing marijuana statute, those arrested for personal possession will be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum fine of $6,000 and a one-year jail sentence. And for those unlucky recidivists caught with marijuana a second time, they’ll be charged with a class C Felony, face a 15-year jail sentence and a $15,000 fine.

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Collectively, the two bills would create a third sentencing option for individuals caught in possession of a personal stash of 1 ounce or less.

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HB 272 and SB 251 would make the personal possession of no more than an ounce of weed a “violation” subject to a $250 fine for both the first and second offenses – rather than an exorbitant fine and years of incarceration.

Rep. Todd and Sen. Brewbaker appear to understand that even in Jeff Sessions’ home state, marijuana legalization is more popular than prohibition.

In a survey conducted by AL.com in April 2017, they discovered an overwhelming majority of the 9,280 respondents from the Birmingham metropolitan area said they support legalizing recreational marijuana use.

The Judiciary Committee in both the House and Senate will consider the two bills at 1:30 pm today.

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