Last week the state of Alabama garnered a lot of attention in the news when Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore to replace a seat in the Senate that previously belonged to Jeff Sessions. But now Alabama's back in the news for another important topic: marijuana.
Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox spoke at a city breakfast last week and began to discuss the issue of marijuana possession. Maddox said he believes that current state laws are too harsh and that Alabama should decriminalize cannabis possession to a petty offense.
“We need to deal with this in a different pattern besides throwing somebody in jail,” Maddox said. “We’ve got this incredible pressure created from decisions in Montgomery. We’re now having to triage the most important aspects in terms of creating public safety in the community.”
Maddox did not say he was supporting marijuana legalization. Instead he argued that decriminalization would allow police officers to focus on more important crimes and issues, and would also help deal with prison overcrowding.
After Maddox's comments, multiple state legislators came out and said they supported his views. However, they also felt that it was probably a longshot.
“I haven’t seen anything like that in the legislature. I think it would have a long way to go,” said Alabama State Representative Bill Poole. “I think there’s a lot of analysis that would have to go into a proposal like that, and lot of public input. You’d have to really put it out there and have a public discussion on an issue like that.”
But people probably thought it was a longshot for a Democrat to be elected to the U.S. Senate in Alabama. So there's always hope.
(h/t High Times)