While there have been efforts for medical and recreational legalization, the current laws surrounding cannabis in Alabama are some of the harshest in the country. Just getting caught with some cannabis could land you in jail for up to 20 years.
Throughout this article, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about cannabis laws and regulation in Alabama.
Recreational cannabis is illegal in Alabama. And those who are caught with cannabis can expect harsh penalties even for holding a small amount.
First-time offenders in possession of cannabis are likely to receive a misdemeanor. While charges will vary from case to case, people can face upwards of one-year jail time and a $6,000 fine. However, many have seen the jail term suspended and replaced with probation.
After this first-time offense, any following offense will lead to a Class C felony. These are punishable with up to 10 years of jail time along with a $15,000 fine.
Those who are caught selling cannabis for recreational purposes (even if just a small amount) are met with a Class B felony. This is punishable with a 20-year prison sentence along with a $30,000 fine.
However, punishment is brought up to life imprisonment if you’re caught selling to minors.
The city of Birmingham in Jefferson County is the only area of Alabama that has passed resolutions in order to decriminalize cannabis.
If you are caught with a small amount of cannabis or cannabis paraphernalia (both must be for personal use), it’s punishable only by citation and immediate release.
Trafficking Cannabis in Alabama
Trafficking cannabis is defined by either manufacturing, cultivating, or selling anywhere between 2.2 and 100 pounds of cannabis. The following are laws surrounding cannabis trafficking in Alabama:
- 2.2 – 100 pounds – minimum of 3 years jail time and a $25,000 fine.
- 100 to 500 pounds – minimum of 5 years jail time and a $50,000 fine.
- 500 to 1,000 pounds – minimum of 15 years jail time and a $200,000 fine.
Since these are mandatory minimum sentences, there’s no way to avoid the above-mentioned jail-time and fines if you’re caught trafficking cannabis. It’s worth mentioning that there are also minimum sentences for possession and selling cannabis.
Cultivating Cannabis in Alabama
It is illegal to grow cannabis in Alabama for any purpose, including personal, commercial, medical, and research use. If you’re caught growing cannabis on your personal property, this can lead to a felony charge related to trafficking cannabis – minimum of 3 years jail time and a $25,000 fine.
It’s important to mention that Alabama does allow for hemp cultivation as long as you have a required license. See below to learn more.
Alabama’s Medical Marijuana Laws
In March of 2020, the Alabama Senate approved of a medical marijuana bill. Known as SB 165, this bill established the state Medical Cannabis Commission which is responsible for registering patients and supervising licensed businesses.
Some noteworthy aspects about the bill include:
- Patients must suffered from a specific condition in order to qualify for medical cannabis. These conditions currently include anxiety, cancer, epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Patients are allowed to purchase up to a 70-day supply of cannabis at a time.
- A maximum of 32 dispensaries are allowed throughout the state.
- All products must be tested for potency and contaminants. All sales from licensed dispensaries are subjected to a 9% tax.
While it’s going to take some time before this medical cannabis bill is put into full effect, it’s a big step in the right direction. Especially, considering that Alabama holds one of the most conservative standpoints on pot within the country.
Are CBD and Hemp Legal in Alabama?
While CBD and hemp are federally legal, states have the ability to present restrictions.
In Alabama, there are currently no restrictions surrounding the possession of CBD products. However, we don’t advise you fly with CBD products on you as there’s still a lot of confusion surrounding the industry. Not to mention, there have been cases of people finding themselves in jail after attempting to fly with CBD products.
If you’re interested in growing hemp, Alabama requires you to have a hemp license in order to grow the plant. This must be obtained annually in the fall. If interested, you can learn more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Alabama’s hemp industry, we invite you to check out the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries’ Frequently Asked Questions page.