This bill would revise the crime of unlawful marijuana possession to eliminate references to personal use, provide that a person commits the crime based on weight, and provide a fine for a violation of certain weights. Under existing law, a person who is deemed to have marijuana possession for personal use only may be charged with a class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a class D felony for a second offense. A person who is deemed to have marijuana possession for more than personal use may be charged with a class C felony.
This new bill would change the penalties so that personal use is not arbitrarily defined but determined by weight. If HB96/SB98 passes, then a person who is deemed to have 2 ounces or more of marijuana may be charged with a class C felony, a person has between 1 and 2 ounces of marijuana may be charged with a class A misdemeanor, and a person with 1 ounce or less would receive a violation to be punished by a fine of not more than $250 for the first two offenses and not more than $500 for any subsequent offense.
HB96 was introduced on March 5, 2019 by Rep. Hall and assigned to the House Judiciary committee. It was up in committee on April 30, but was sent to subcommittee for further consideration. They proposed amendments to lower weights to 5 grams or less as punishable by fine, but the committee members still voted against the bill 6-5.
A companion bill, SB98, was introduced on March 19, 2019 by Sen. Singleton and assigned to the Senate Judiciary committee. A similar bill was introduced during the 2018 session, but failed in committee. This bill was scheduled for Senate committee vote on Wednesday, April 17. It passed unanimously.
- 5/8/2019 - Bill to reduce marijuana penalties stalls in House [AL.com]
- 5/6/2019 - Alabama Legislature still weighing bill to reduce marijuana penalties [AL.com]
- 4/17/2019 - Bill to reduce marijuana penalties in Alabama advances [AL.com]
- 3/28/2019 - House, senate bills eye easing marijuana penalties [AL.com]