Cannabis decriminalization bills have been filed in both chambers of Alabama’s Legislature and are expected to be heard in committees today, according to an ABC 33/40 report. The measure, introduced in the Senate by Republican Sen. Dick Brewbaker, would set fines for first-time possession of less than 1 ounce at $250 and up to $500 for subsequent violations.

“We’re trying not to hang felonies on college kids, bottom line. … This is what the public wants. They want personal use, very small amounts, no evidence of trafficking, they want it to be a fine.” – Brewbaker to ABC 33/40

Sen. Cam Ward, chair of the prison reform task force, told ABC 33/40 that he would support the measure, explaining that under current law, a second cannabis possession offense turns someone into a “felon for the rest of their life.”

“It ruins their life for an offense no one’s even prosecuting anyway. … You can go on Department of Corrections website, simple possession in state prisons is almost zero. The only people in state prisons on possession of any kind of marijuana are those trafficking the truckloads of it.” – Ward to ABC 33/40

The measure faces long odds in the House, where it is carried by Democratic Rep. Patricia Todd, as Speaker Mac McCutchen said its chances of passage are “slim to none.”

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