Alabama Marijuana Laws
Created byВ FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors | Last updated November 15, 2019
Last updated 11/11/2019
Marijuana, whether you spell it “marihuana,” as Alabama law does, or call it cannabis, pot, weed, grass, ganja, Mary Jane, chronic, or anything else, is a common, yet controversial drug. Marijuana law is currently going through a great deal of change throughout the country, with more and more states legalizing recreational and/or medical marijuana use every year.В
Today, almost all forms of marijuana possession, sale, or trafficking in Alabama is illegal. The only legal form of marijuana in Alabama is CBD or cannabidiol, which is a compound in cannabis that has medical effects without the THC to get you high.В
The table below outlines AlabamaвЂ™s main marijuana laws.
There are two degrees or levels of unlawful possession of marijuana in Alabama. First degree is possessing marijuana for something other than personal use (Class C felony) or for personal use after a previous conviction of unlawful possession of marijuana (Class D felony). These can get you between 1 and 10 years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine.
Possession of pot for personal use is only a Class A misdemeanor (the highest misdemeanor in Alabama). This is possession in the second degree. A Class A misdemeanor can be sentenced to not more than a year in jail and up to a $6,000 fine.
In addition, under the Alabama Drug Trafficking Enterprise Act a person who manages at least 5 people and gets a substantial income from the marijuana trade faces higher fines and longer minimum sentences. For a first conviction, the mandatory minimum is 25 years in prison with a fine between $50,000 and $500,000. For a second conviction, the leader is facing life in prison without parole and a $150,000 to $1,000,000 fine. The sentences under this law cannot be less than what the defendant faces under the trafficking and habitual offender laws alone.
Note:В State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Get Help With Your Case From an Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or a loved one is facing a marijuana-related criminal charge, you should consult with an experienced Alabama drug crimes attorney as soon as you can. The laws surrounding marijuana are constantly changing and you’ll want to be sure you know any possible defenses that may be available to you. If you’re facing charges, don’t delay; call an Alabama drug crimes attorney today.FindLaw offers a chart providing details of Alabama's marijuana laws.
Marijuana Lawyer in Birmingham, AL
If you’re ready to hire a criminal law attorney, there are many ways of getting in touch:
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Marijuana Charges in Alabama
More and more states have relaxed their laws regarding marijuana, but unfortunately, Alabama has not caught up. Despite growing evidence that marijuana is less addictive and more medically beneficial than authorities believed decades ago, our state continues to treat marijuana possession, distribution, and cultivation as a dangerous crime.
Our drug crime lawyers defend clients throughout Alabama who are charged with:
- Possession of marijuana for personal use
- Possession of marijuana for other than personal use
- Possession or use of drug paraphernalia
- Unlawful distribution of marijuana
- Unlawful manufacture (cultivation) in the first or second degree
- Sale of marijuana to a minor
- Trafficking of marijuana
- Juvenile marijuana crimes
- Federal marijuana crimes
Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell
According to a report issued by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, marijuana was the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States in 2014. The charge of “possession of marijuana with intent to sell” is a serious charge that can result in serious punishment.
Individuals who are faced with this charge often find it critical to employ the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will be able to construct a strong defense in response to the charges. It is also important for individuals in Shelby County who face “possession of marijuana with intent to sell” charges to understand some of the basic elements concerning these types of charges.
Requirements Of A “Possession of Marijuana With Intent To Sell” Charge
In order to understand the requirements to satisfy this type of charge, is important that an individual understands the various definitions that are in play.
First, the term “marijuana” refers to any parts of the cannabis plant from which resin has not been extracted.
Individuals are prohibited from knowingly possessing or using marijuana or possessing marijuana to sell, but the requirements to satisfy an “intent to sell” include several specific categories.
“Intent to sell” is not always gauged according to the amount of marijuana possessed but measured according to the intent to exchange the substance for anything of value or advantage like money.
Distinguishing Between “Intent to Sell” And “Possession”
The distinguishing line between “intent to sell” and “possession” can be difficult, but some of the characteristics that tend to suggest “intent to sell” is when an individual contains a large amount of marijuana which is greater than for an individual’s personal issue.
There are some other behaviors that indicate the intent to sell, which include: the presence of small bags used for packaging drug amounts to sell, a ledger to keep track of sales, large sums of money, phone records regarding marijuana sales, and a scale used to weigh products.
Defending An “Intent To Sell” Charge in Alabama
There are available strategies for defending an “intent to sell” charge. Individuals most often attempt to defend an “intent to sell” charge by disproving the intent to sell.
Penalties For An “Intent To Sell” Charge
Individuals who are charged with an “intent to sell” offense in the state of Alabama face either prison time or a substantial fine. An individual’s prior criminal history, possession of weapons at the time of the charge, and various other factors will be used as elements to increase the penalties which an individual faces.
It is also worth noting that the task of proving an individual possesses and intends to sell marijuana lies on the prosecution. In an effort to demonstrate this burden, the prosecution often relies on indirect evidence to prove that a person both possessed a drug and wanted to sell or gift the drug as well.
As a result of this high requirement for the prosecution, many individuals are able to successfully argue against “intent to sell” charges by simply demonstrating that the prosecution has not met its high burden.
As members of NORML and professional criminal defense attorneys, we know the criminal penalties for marijuana possession are often far disproportionate to the crime.
In the State of Alabama, possession of marijuana for personal use only (second-degree marijuana possession) is a Class A misdemeanor carrying up to a year in prison, whereas possession of marijuana with intent to distribute is a Class C felony carrying one to ten years in prison.
The penalties for more serious marijuana crimes can be even higher. Those convicted also face:
- Thousands of dollars in fines.
- A mandatory six-month driver’s license suspension.
- Confiscation of your property.
- Professional consequences, including loss of job opportunities and some licenses.
- A drug conviction on your record that makes any future charge more serious.
- After a felony conviction, loss of your right to vote or possess a firearm.
- The social stigma of a criminal record.
The penalties are raised if you happen to be within three miles of a school (including universities) or a public housing project, if there was a firearm or violence involved, or if it’s a repeat offense.
Because prosecutors like to “stack” several drug charges together, those convicted may be looking at decades in prison for crimes that could draw just a few years in other jurisdictions. If you’re facing drug charges in Alabama, there’s just too much at stake to go it alone. You need aggressive representation from an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Alabama Marijuana Defense
Because even safe and private drug use carries a deep stigma in our society, law enforcement officers often make mistakes, violate your civil rights or cut corners when building a drug prosecution. We can use these flaws and assumptions to destroy the case against you, getting your charges dropped or substantially reduced.
If that’s not possible, we can negotiate with prosecutors to find an acceptable alternative sentence, such as drug court, work-release or probation-only. Those accused of a non-violent marijuana crime have a very good chance of being sentenced to drug court in counties where it exists, including Jefferson and Shelby Counties. The program allows them to avoid a conviction altogether in exchange for passing several drug tests and submitting to treatment.
If it’s appropriate to go to trial in your case, we will argue aggressively for you in court. Law enforcement may assume intent to sell because you had more than an ounce, but in court, they must prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
Similarly, if you are charged with trafficking, the state must prove that you knew of the marijuana, which can be difficult in cases of “constructive possession” (when the marijuana was not actually in your possession but assumed to be under your control). Even if you believe the case against you is overwhelming, you should never plead guilty to a marijuana crime in Alabama without understanding all of your options.
Have a Marijuana Lawyer on Your Side
If you are facing marijuana charges in Birmingham, Columbiana, Huntsville, Montgomery, or anywhere else in Alabama, you can depend on an experienced marijuana lawyer at Alabama Criminal Lawyers to help you fight your charges.
As members of NORML and veteran Alabama drug crime attorneys, we believe marijuana crimes are overly prosecuted and unfairly punished. Contact Alabama Criminal Lawyers today at (205) 981-2450 for a free consultation.Make sure a skilled marijuana lawyer is protecting your rights and fighting for the best possible result. Call Alabama Criminal Lawyers: (205) 981-2450. ]]>