Singleton files bill loosening marijuana possession punishments

By WVUA 23 Reporter Gracie Johnson

Alabama Sen. Bobby Singleton, who represents parts of West Alabama, is proposing the state reduce penalties for personal marijuana possession.

Singleton filed the bill, known as SB42, would reduce penalties for those possessing 1 ounce or less of marijuana from potential jail time to a fine.

“Once a person gets down to an ounce, it is usually a personal thing that they are looking at,” said Singleton. “So for personal use we should not put people in jail or in prison for the use of marijuana when it is legal in 38 other states.”

Currently in Alabama, a conviction of possession of marijuana for “personal use only,” is a Class-A misdemeanor and is punishable by a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $6,000 fine.

Singleton said he believes jail time is far too harsh for personal possession. If the law is amended, offenders would have increasing punishments if they keep breaking the law.

“If you get caught a third time then you will have to sit in jail, because if they catch you with an ounce in your pocket three times consecutively then you probably need to go because you have a problem, so we need to work on getting you some help,” said Singleton.

If the bill passes, a first-time offender could be fined up to $1,500. The third offense could result in more serious consequences including losing a driver’s license or spending time in jail.

This change is already in place in several Alabama cities including Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, and Singleton said he believes the state should follow suit.

Alabama is among the 38 states that have legalized marijuana in some form. In Alabama, medical marijuana was legalized in 2021. Currently, the state is examining marijuana dispensary and growth proposals by businesses. Once the proper systems are in place, doctors will be able to write prescriptions for marijuana for patients with certain illnesses and those patients will be able to enter a dispensary and purchase medical marijuana.

The herb itself and edibles will not be available for sale, but items including gelatinous cubes, tinctures and lotions will be available.

You can read more about where the state is at on the medical marijuana law right here.

Read the bill in its entirety below:


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