Local marijuana advocacy groups are asking Alabama lawmakers to decriminalize nonviolent cannabis convictions during the 2023 legislative session.
Activists, including the Alabama Cannabis Coalition, are looking at what other states are doing including legalizing medical cannabis. They are pushing lawmakers to make a change on marijuana possession arrests, reports News 19.
“Decriminalization eliminates jail time for petty crimes for so many people and those crimes,” said Marty Schelper, president of ACC. “Those misdemeanors and those felonies can actually prevent those people from getting jobs and having housing.”
Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, is sponsoring marijuana decriminalization legislation for the fourth consecutive year. The legislation has previously passed Senate judiciary committee review, but died on the Senate floor.
Rally At State Capitol April 22
Schelper and other advocates are calling for the Alabama Legislature to expunge criminal records for marijuana possession while looking at racial disparities in arrest rates. They’d like lawmakers to then move forward with establishing medical cannabis dispensaries.
John Dietz is with Mountaintop Dispensaries in Scottsboro. Mountaintop is a licensed hemp grower and processor that supplies Cannabis for medicinal purposes only. He believes the Legislature should expunge criminal records for marijuana possession if the state needs for medical cannabis to thrive the way that it should.
“We would like to see home grow allowed also, and we would also like to see caregivers’ provisions listed inside of the medical side,” Dietz said.
The Alabama Cannabis Coalition plans to hold a rally on April 22, pushing the legislation, reports WHNT. The rally will be held at the State Capitol in Montgomery.