State Rep. Patricia Todd files bill to decriminalize pot possession

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A bill recently filed by Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. Currently, possession of marijuana in that amount is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by jail time and fines. Todd’s bill, HB257, would make it simply a ticket offense.

“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 specifically lower penalties for recreational users, not dealers who may be in possession of much higher quantities. Further, Todd believes the change would create much needed revenue for the state as offenders are forced to pay tickets.

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

Todd noted that she has spoken with law enforcement officials and most are supportive of the measure, specifically because it takes a lot of the work out of processing and jailing non-violent marijuana offenders, though she expects opposition from area district attorneys.

Todd added that she based her bill off of a similar bill passed in Georgia, which makes possession of an ounce punishable by only a ticket. In Georgia, the law calls for arresting anyone caught with more than an ounce – Todd’s legislation retracts that language, making simple possession penalties no worse than speeding tickets. Todd even added that speeding is likely more dangerous than marijuana.

“It’s a better tactic than what we’re currently doing,” Todd said. “We need to deal in reality.”

While her bill does not specifically address medical marijuana, Todd believes that the state could make substantive moves in providing marijuana-based treatments to Alabama residents. CBD oil, which moved into the public lexicon with the passing of “Carly’s Law” and the impending passage of “Leni’s Law,” could be better manufactured to help desperate people if Auburn University were allowed to begin growing marijuana and looking at ways to extract the needed chemical for the medicine, Todd believes.

The bill is not slated for a committee hearing yet, but it will likely make it onto the docket in the coming weeks.

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53 Comments

  1. Michael Allen Blum on

    Legislation needs to quit dliiy dallying around with the marijuana laws.There is an industry over half the country is involed in and Alabama isn’t in the mix.They are too worried about control.I dont see you stopping me from eating a dozen oranges but you stop me from using a herb,that is good for me.Not one person in history has ever died from the use of marijuana,but it has saved lives,and made lives bearable.Tell me again why its illegal???Get your thumbs out of your seats and just abolish existing marijuana laws…

  2. Goddamnit! legalize the stuff, Marijuana will help make life Much better so long as we can ,already and quit trying to control how we live our lives, we aren’t that stupid, work with us to help improve the way we live because, It’s been proven to be healthy for the cannabis oil that cures cancer and it’s just plain fun to smoke the stuff every once in awhile because we need to enjoy life, it can help take stress off a person as well, lets learn to love ourselves and do ourselves a favor and plant this stuff

  3. Mervin Hanawalt on

    Patricia Todd! What wonderful law maker! I don’t use alcohol or pot but it’s a proven fact that alcohol is much worse than pot all around! This will be passed if people can get beyond religion In this great state and their emotions, like she said!

  4. Christopher Shane Patton on

    I have Epilepsy an this so called MEDICAID=what a joke I can’t find a real doctor. The whole list of doctors that are stuposidly medical first are actually nurses. Medicaid is being used more than Marijuana. PLEASE
    IF YOU HAVE A HEART OR CARE ABOUT ANYONE, WHO IS SICK LIKE ME
    PLEASE PLEASE ☆FREE THA WEED☆
    Marijuana helps me with my Epilepsy everyday, BUT enough for a cup of coffee has taken my RIGHTS if we actually have any.

    I need one of these Obama Care Raises or at least my rights back.
    I WANT TO WORK, I HATE BEING DISABLED AND BARELY CAN SURVIVE.

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