Is marijuana legal in Alabama?
Current state status
Cannabis is legal for qualified patients with a licensed card.
Marijuana is not legal either medically or recreationally in Alabama. Low-THC/high-CBD oil is legal, though permits are required for producers who process the industrial hemp necessary to distill it.
- Possession of marijuana for personal use may result in misdemeanor conviction, a fine of up to $6,000, and up to one year in jail.
- A second conviction for personal use is a felony, with penalties starting at one year in prison.
- Cultivation penalties are based on the plant’s entire weight, with mandatory jail time of three years for one kilogram and up to life in prison for more than 1,000 pounds.
- Cultivators who manage a staff of five people or more face even stiffer penalties, with a mandatory minimum of 25 years in jail and fines starting at $50,000.
Alabama’s stringent marijuana laws resulted in 2,755 arrests in 2016 and enforcement cost taxpayers some $22 million that year.
Alabama recreational and medical marijuana legalization efforts
Alabama recreational and medical legalization efforts are slow going. Changing the law requires an act of the legislature, which meets once a year for a maximum of 30 days. The state does not have a ballot initiative procedure.
In March 2020, a comprehensive medical marijuana bill, the Compassion Act, SB 165, cleared the Senate but later stalled in the House due to coronavirus-related delays.
Support for both medical and recreational use of marijuana in the state is high, with a with a 2018 poll showing 60.2% respondents in favor.
A decriminalization bill (SB 98) passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2019 but never got out of committee in the House. It would have significantly downgraded penalties for possession. A similar bill (SB 267) was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee in March 2020.
Senator Doug Jones (D) has expressed provisional support for removing marijuana from the federal controlled substances list. He is the incumbent running against Tommy Tuberville (R), who defeated the notorious anti-cannabis Jeff Sessions in the primary elections.
Tuberville has expressed some support for medical marijuana. The majority of state House and Senate candidates have not made public their positions on marijuana legalization. A handful of them have come out against any form of legalization, including Republican Representative Robert Aderholt and Democratic Representative Terri Sewell.
Alabama residents can register to vote here.
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Alabama cannabis DUI laws
Even in medical-use and adult-use states, it is illegal to drive while under the influence. Cannabis is a controlled substance in Alabama, and you can’t drive intoxicated on a controlled substance.
“Intoxicated” is defined as “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of … a controlled substance.”
In Alabama, it is implied that the driver shall consent to a chemical test of their breath, blood, or urine for the purpose of determining the presence of drugs and/or alcohol.
An individual suspected of being under the influence of cannabis has the right to refuse to submit to a chemical test, and no penalties or sanctions apply for refusing to submit to chemical testing for drugs.
However, if there is serious injury as a result of an accident in which marijuana-related impairment is suspected, consent to a blood test is implied.
Cannabis DUI penalties
- First offense: No more than one year in jail, $600 to $2,100, 90-day suspended license
- Second offense (within five years): $1,100 to $5,000 fine, imprisonment (which may include hard labor) for no less than five days and not more than one year, 30 days community service, one-year suspended license
- Third offense: $2,100 to $10,000 fine, imprisonment for mandatory minimum of 60 days but not more than one year, three-year suspended license
- Fourth or subsequent offense: Class C felony; $4,100 to $10,000 fine, imprisonment for no less than one year and one day but no more than 10 years (sentence may be suspended if the offender enrolls and completes a state certified chemical dependency program), five-year suspended license
For more information, please refer to Alabama Code Ann. Section 32-5A-191.
Common questions about marijuana legalization in Alabama
Are edibles legal in Alabama?
No. Edibles (like pot brownies) are illegal. There is no legislation specific to edibles in Alabama. However, the medical marijuana bill introduced in 2020 would allow for consumption of edibles purchased from a licensed dispensary.
Is Alabama a legal recreational state?
No, Alabama is not a recreational weed state.
Is CBD legal in Alabama?
Yes, CBD is legal in Alabama if it has under 0.3% THC. State lawmakers followed federal hemp legalization laws and hemp production is licensed by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI). CBD products from the national market are widely available but loosely regulated.
Is smokable hemp allowed in Alabama?
No, sale of floral parts is prohibited under the 2018 legislation.
Can you get a medical marijuana card in Alabama?
Details to come.
Learn more about marijuana legalization in Alabama
Here are some additional resources, news, and references for Alabama marijuana policy.
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