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Alabama: Bill Filed To Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill filed by Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) in the Alabama House would decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. Currently, that "offense" would get you a Class A misdemeanor in the Heart of Dixie, punishable by jail time and fines.

HB 257, sponsored by Rep. Todd, would make possession of an ounce or under simply a ticketable offense, reports Adam Powell at Alabama Today. "Possession charges for people clog up a lot of our court services," Todd said. "This would help eliminate some of that bottleneck."

The bill would lower penalties for recreational cannabis consumers, and would, Todd said, create much-needed revenue for the state, since offenders are forced to pay tickets.

"I believe it's safer than alcohol," Rep. Todd said. "If people could take their emotions out of it, I think most people would agree with me."

Todd said she'd spoken with law enforcement officials, and most are supportive, specifically because the measure would remove a lot of work processing and jailing nonviolent marijuana offenders. She does expect opposition, however, from district attorneys, she said.

Alabama: Medical Marijuana Bill Gets Both House, Senate Sponsors

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

For the first time ever, the Alabama Medical Marijuana Safe Access Act will be sponsored in both houses of the Alabama Legislature. The companion bills are expected to be filed in the Alabama Senate and House on Tuesday, March 17.

Senator Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) and Representative John Rogers (D-Birmingham) have agreed to sponsor the bill in the 2015 legislative session, according to Ron Crumpton of the Alabama Safe Access Project (ASAP).

"ASAP would like to thank both Rep. Rogers and Sen. Singleton for their willingness to lead Alabama towards a future where patients receive the best in medical care," Crumpton told Hemp News Wednesday afternoon.

Sen. Singleton, who is sponsoring the bill in the Alabama Senate, is serving his third term. He has a degree in Criminal Justice from Alabama State University and a Juris Doctor from Miles College, and works as a consultant. He is a member of Greenleaf Missionary Baptist Church in Greensboro.

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