- Medical: Legal, but limited
- Recreational: illegal
- Reciprocity: No
Alabama law does not allow the consumption, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for recreational purposes, but has approved the establishment of a medical marijuana program in February 2021.
Roll out of the program has been slow, and as of June 2022, there were still no doctors certified to issue prescriptions, no licensed dispensaries, and no legal farming of cannabis products. Unlike other states, Alabama requires doctors to document a failure of conventional medical treatment before issuing a medical cannabis prescription.
A representative from the Alabama Agriculture Department has stated that licenses for medical marijuana producers won’t be issued before September 2022, and it could take until 2023 to get the program up and running.
Possible penalties for cannabis
Penalties for cannabis possession are still steep in Alabama, but enforcement is not uniform and is often drawn down racial lines. Possession of any amount of cannabis is a misdemeanor and a first offense can bring up to a year in prison, a $6,000 fine, and a six-month driver’s license suspension. Repeat offenses of possession or intent to sell are felonies.
In February 2022, a state senator introduced a bill to decriminalize possession of two ounces or less, reducing the penalty from up to a year in jail to a $250 fine. The same bill was introduced in 2021 but failed in the Senate Chamber.
How do people in Alabama view marijuana?
Cannabis is still a deeply divisive subject in Alabama. The divide is often drawn along political party and racial lines, though not always. While many people in Alabama support cannabis legalization, understand the medicinal benefit of the plant, and/or participated in the legacy market, many others firmly believe the War on Drugs propaganda. Alabama is located in the “deep south” of the US, a region with a long history of struggling with racial divides. Black Alabamians are four times more likely to be put in jail for a cannabis charge than their white counterparts.
Alabama medical cannabis program
The medical marijuana program in Alabama is limited, and not open. As of June 2022, there is no way for medical patients to obtain a cannabis prescription or get medication. The cost of a prescription is unknown.
Patients can only be prescribed manufactured cannabis products including: pills, capsules, suppositories, tinctures, gels, oil, cream, patches, or nebulizers. They cannot access flower or edibles and can only have 70 daily doses at one time with a maximum of 50 mg per dose. It is also challenging for doctors to join. The law requires physicians to jump through several hoops to obtain a license to prescribe cannabis.
Qualifying conditions include:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Cancer-related cachexia, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, or chronic pain
- Crohn’s Disease
- Epilepsy and other seizure disorders
- HIV/ AIDS-related nausea or weight loss
- Panic disorder
- Parkinson’s disease
- Persistent nausea unresponsive to traditional treatment (excluding pregnancy and CHS)
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Spasticity and multiple sclerosis
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Chronic or intractable plan
- Terminal illnesses
CBD is legal in Alabama under the 2018 federal farm bill. You can buy CBD products throughout the state.
Can you grow weed in Alabama?
No, you cannot legally grow your own cannabis plants. You can grow hemp plants under the 2018 Farm Bill, but you may run into issues with law enforcement officers who don’t know the difference.
Visiting Alabama – can you buy or bring marijuana products?
You cannot legally buy cannabis products in Alabama. Since the plant is still prohibited, the only way to obtain cannabis products is through the legacy market (also called the black market.) These products are unregulated and typically untested and unlabeled. Purchase cannabis at your own risk.
You cannot legally bring cannabis across a border into Alabama. Possession of any amount of weed is a misdemeanor and can come with up to a year in jail or a $6,000 fine. Carry cannabis at your own risk.
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