Alabama to Consider Bill to Reduce Penalties for Simple Cannabis Possession

Alabama lawmakers are ready to consider a bill this week to reduce penalties for possessing two ounces or less of cannabis.

Full story after the jump.

Alabama lawmakers are set to consider a bill this week to reduce the penalties for cannabis possession in the state ABC 33/40 News reports. Under the proposal, the first two convictions for possession of two ounces of cannabis or less will still be a misdemeanor but would be met with lower fines than current state law and would not include incarceration.

Possession of any amount of cannabis for personal use under current Alabama law is punishable by up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of $6,000, according to NORML. The reform measure would replace those penalties with a $250 fine for the first offense and a $500 fine for the second offense. The third offense would be adjudicated as a felony punishable by a $750 fine but no jail time, the report says.

Under the measure, possession of cannabis for non-personal use would be a Class C felony, but the bill does not implicitly set those limits, according to an AL.com report.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, Alabama is one of just 19 states that still jails people for simple possession of cannabis. The measure, introduced by Democratic state Sen. Bobby Singleton, includes provisions allowing convictions on first or second-degree possession to be expunged after five years.

Singleton was also the sponsor of the state’s medical cannabis bill, which was approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor last May.

The bill is set to be heard on Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which approved the legislation last year, but it failed to get a vote by the full chamber.

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