Alabama Lawmakers Weigh Pot Penalties
Legislature Weighs Medical Marijuana, Citations Instead of Jail
Alabama lawmakers are considering two separate marijuana bills that have already cleared the Senate.
One bill makes medical marijuana legal for people suffering from certain conditions, the other would reduce the penalty for recreational users.
Proponents of the bill lowering penalties for pot possession are fired up about about the proposed legislaton because it could have a real impact on the Criminal Justice System if pot smokers aren’t automatically hauled to jail for lighting up.
“And there’s a lot of people that’s high on this bill so we’ll have to figure out what happens. It’s lowering the minimum standards like first offense I think it’s less than an ounce $250 fine, the second time would be a $500 dollar fine, then if you proceed with those actions then you may find yourself back in some type situation you could today,” Representative Chris Blackshear said.
Auburn’s top cop, Police Chief Paul Register isn’t ready to cheer all the changes just yet.
Chief Register said there are compelling arguments on both sides of the current marijuana debate.
“You can argue either way. I mean there are absolutely those people that are looking for an answer to a medical problem and I think that whatever consideration can be given to those people but again where will you draw that line,” Chief Register told First News.
The Chief says it is almost always the conduct not the substance that puts recreational users on police radar.
“Alcohol, I compare it the same way. You know alcohol is legal but we make hundreds of arrests every year for people that are imparied endangering themselves so in my mind I belive that there will be more people that will say that they need it for the miedical purposes andthere fore there will be more of it out there,” Chief Register said.
The House Judiciary Committee is expected to take up the marijuana bill later this week.