The Alabama Democratic Party has launched a “Free Weed” website to help legalize marijuana in the Heart of Dixie. Democrats say arrests for marijuana possession are ruining lives. The statistics show Blacks are much more likely to be arrested than whites, reports AL.com.
The site, www.FreeWeedAL.com, is a mix of policy advocacy and promotion for the state Democratic Party, reports WVTM-13. It argues prosecutions for small amounts of Cannabis are a waste of resources and legalizing marijuana could bring economic benefits.
Rep. Chris England, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, said that criminalizing cannabis doesn’t make people safer. The Alabama Democratic Party announced the site on April 20, also known as 4/20. That date has become associated with celebrating marijuana culture.
Alabama Republican Party Opposes Legalization
Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl called the site a stunt. Wahl said the GOP opposes legalization.
“The Alabama Republican Party supports traditional family values,” Wahl brayed. “It’s important to us that our society and our families stay safe, strong, and healthy. The recreational use of marijuana does not encourage these principles.”
“This is clearly a stunt by the Democrat Party,” an envious Wahl complained. Clearly, Wahl wishes he could somehow be as cool as his stoned rivals across the aisle.
The conservative Republican-controlled Alabama Legislature legalized medical marijuana last year. But bills to reduce the penalties for Cannabis possession, which are introduced every year, have never come close to passing.
“Criminalizing Cannabis Doesn’t Make Us Safer”
England, chair of the state Democrats, said Republican support for stiff penalties against marijuana possession in Alabama law is costly.
In Alabama, possession of any amount of marijuana for personal use is a Class A misdemeanor. It can carry a sentence of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $6,000. And a second conviction of possession of marijuana is a Class D felony. That can result in a sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $7,500.
“Alabama’s Republican politicians seem hellbent on wasting money criminalizing ordinary people, ruining lives in the process,” England said. “Rather than pursuing policies that create opportunity and make our state more equitable, taxpayers are now strapped to a $1.3 Billion prison project.
“Criminalizing cannabis doesn’t make us safer,” England said. ”If we legalize cannabis, we can bring new economic opportunities to Alabama and correct decades-old policies based on outright racism.”
The Fiscal And Human Toll Of Cannabis Criminalization
Alabama Democrats used a report by the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice and the Southern Poverty Law Center. The report, published in 2018, is “Alabama’s War on Marijuana: Assessing the Fiscal and Human Toll of Criminalization.”
The report is based partly on a study of marijuana arrests. Those arrests include 2,351 for marijuana possession in Alabama in 2016. The arrest rate of Blacks was four times higher than for whites in Alabama. That’s even though there’s ample evidence usage is about equal among Black and whites.
A bill this year by Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, a Greensboro Democrat, would have reduced the penalties for marijuana possession and added weight amounts to the definitions in the law. Singleton’s bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee passed Singleton’s bill. The Alabama Senate never took a vote on the bill. The the “family values” GOP “leadership” made sure of that.