Alabama has a history with marijuana that dates back to 1931, when the state first banned the drug, which was the beginning of enforcing some of the harshest marijuana laws in the United States. In several states, offenders face a life sentence for marijuana, and Alabama is still among one of these states because even possession of a single joint faces a punishment of a year in prison. Evidence shows that these harsh laws aren’t being evenly enforced, because black people are 4.4 times more likely to get arrested for marijuana, even though black and white people consume at the same rates in the state.
While police were enforcing these marijuana laws, Alabama was also joining the list of states that enacted some of the first medical marijuana laws during the late ‘70s and ‘80s. These laws became difficult to enforce because marijuana was and still is illegal at the federal level, but the legislation was still in the books by 2000. By 2014, state lawmakers enacted another medical marijuana legislation, Carly’s Law, to offer certain CBD oils to patients suffering from debilitating seizures, provided the patient’s doctor recommends it, of course. Advocates and patients still want to see a full medical marijuana program though, so Alabama still has a long way for full marijuana legalization.