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The Legal Status of Cannabis in Alabama

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While medical cannabis is legal in Alabama, recreational use is not. Alabama legalized medical cannabis in 2021. The journey towards legalizing medical cannabis in this state has been a long and arduous one. Below is a chronology of events:

“The Alabama Medical Marijuana Patients’ Rights Act” (2012): In 2012, Representative Koven Brown, a Republican representing the state's 40th House District, introduced model legislation which would “authorize the medical use of marijuana only for certain qualifying patients who have been diagnosed by a physician as having a serious medical condition. It listed in part 24 serious conditions which could be considered to be persistent, chronic, or causing limiting and which if not alleviated would lead to serious harm to the patient physically or mentally. Though this bill died in committee, it was reintroduced later with better success.

Carly's Law enabling CBD trials (2014): Carly’s law which permitted the dispensing of non-psychoactive CBD oil by an approved University was signed by Governor Robert Bentley in April 2014. This allowed patients or their caregivers to have CBD containing up to 3% THC.

Leni's Law for CBD allowance (2016): The same Governor on May 4, 2016 signed Leni’s Law which expanded the legal reach of CBD oil to include individuals suffering from debilitating conditions or those that induced seizures. This also had to contain less than 3% THC.

Senate Bill 46 “the Darren Wesley ‘Ato' Hall Compassion Act”, May 17,” (2021): Governor Kay Ivey signed this bill into law in 2021. This stipulates that patients are only allowed to use medical cannabis if conventional medicine has failed. Some of the 18 conditions listed for use include:

  • Nausea and vomiting associated with cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Panic disorder
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Nausea and weight loss associated with HIV/AIDS
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Persistent nausea
  • Spinal cord Injury
  • PTSD- Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Spasticity linked to multiple sclerosis
  • Tourette’s syndrome

This bill allows for marijuana in form of skin patches and pills, but bans vaping and smoking products as well as raw plant material and food products.

Though efforts have been made to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes, this has not yet been successful and is still considered to be a Misdemeanor in the first offense and a felony in subsequent offenses. First-time offenses get punished as a misdemeanor after thereafter further possession, or “intent to sell”, attracts charges.

Alabama is a “Smoke a joint, lose your license” state, which means that getting convicted for a cannabis offense will have you served a mandatory license suspension of six month.

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.