MONTGOMERY, AL — A bill that would allow the possession, use, cultivation, and sale of marijuana by adults in Alabama was introduced Thursday. The bill would also authorize the medical use of marijuana in Alabama and the cultivation of industrial hemp.
House Bill 550, the Alabama Cannabis and Hemp Reform Act of 2013, was introduced Thursday by Birmingham Democrat Rep. Patricia Todd, who has unsuccessfully lobbied her colleagues at the Alabama state house to legalize medical marijuana, including two medical marijuana bills introduced this year.
If passed, House Bill 550 would:
- Allow adults 21 or older to use or possess up to one ounce of marijuana
- Allow adults 21 or older to grow up to twelve mature cannabis plants in an enclosed, locked space
- Allow adults 21 or older to share, but not sell, marijuana among other adults 21 or older
- Authorize the Department of Revenue to regulate the cultivation, processing, packaging, testing, transportation, display, and sale of marijuana and marijuana accessories
- Prohibit the sale of marijuana except by licensed, regulated cannabis retail stores
- Sets product labeling regulations and advertising restrictions for marijuana and marijuana related businesses
- Authorize the medical use of marijuana by certain qualifying patients who have been diagnosed by a physician as having a serious medical condition.
- Allow the cultivation of industrial hemp by Alabama farmers
- Impose penalties for supplying marijuana to minors under 21 years of age, except those with medical marijuana authorizations
- Allows local communities to ban marijuana retail outlets, but only if approved by voters on an even-numbered election year ballot.
Alabama currently has some of the harshest marijuana penalties in the country. Possession of any amount of marijuana — even a single joint — is punishable by up to a year of incarceration and a $6,000 fine.
If passed, the Alabama Cannabis and Hemp Reform Act of 2013 would take effect on October 1, 2013. The bill has been referred to the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.
A poll released earlier this week found that the majority of Americans now favor the legalization of marijuana.