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Singleton introduces cannabis decriminaliztion proposal in Senate

Sen. Bobby Singleton

Alabama Senator Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) introduced a cannabis decriminalization and expungement bill on February 1. The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Committee is scheduled to consider the bill at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 16. As of press time, it is uncertain of its future.

Last year the committee approved the bill but it saw a quick death in the Senate, seeing no votes.

Amending sections 13A-12-213 and 13A-12-214 of the Code of Alabama 1975, Senate Bill 160 revises criminal penalties for unlawful possession of marijuana in the first and second degree, with the option of expungement under certain conditions.

The amendments follow a “three strikes, you’re out” format, in that unlawful possession of cannabis in the amount of two or more ounces would be reduced to a Class C misdemeanor for the first two convictions. The first two convictions are made punishable by a maximum fine of $250 and $500, for the first and second convictions respectively.

For the third and subsequent convictions, the charge would be upgraded to a Class D felony, punishable with a fine not to exceed $750.

All fines and forfeitures collected will be deposited into the State Treasury’s General Fund.

Individuals charged with, found not guilty of, or convicted of violating, may petition in the criminal division of any circuit court to expunge records related to their charge or conviction if the individual has not been convicted of any other violations during the previous five years. Granting the petition, the court can order the expungement of all records of the individual.

Another amendment would lessen the penalty of unlawful possession of cannabis in the second degree, where the amount is less than two ounces would only pay a fine not to exceed $250.  

Proponents of the bill are urging Alabama citizens to contact their representatives to show support for the bill.