The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee will consider legislation that would decriminalize marijuana possession and expunge the criminal records of persons convicted of cannabis possession.

Senate Bill 160 is sponsored by State Sen. Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro). Singleton is the Senate Minority Leader.

According to the synopsis, “Under existing law, a person commits the crime of unlawful possession of marijuana in the first degree if he or she possesses marijuana for other than personal use or possesses marijuana for personal use only after having been previously convicted of unlawful possession in the second degree or unlawful possession of marijuana for his or her personal use only. Existing law also provides that the crime of unlawful possession of marijuana in the first degree is a Class C felony. This bill would amend the crime of unlawful possession of marijuana in the first degree to provide that a person commits the crime if he or she possesses two or more ounces of marijuana and would prescribe new criminal penalties based on the number of prior violations.

“Under existing law, a person commits the crime of unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree if he or she possesses marijuana for personal use only. Existing law also provides that the crime of unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor. This bill would amend the crime of unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree to provide that a person commits the crime if he or she possesses less than two ounces of marijuana and would change the criminal penalty to a fine only.

“This bill would also provide that a person who is charged with, found not guilty of, or convicted of unlawful possession of marijuana in the first or second degree may have that charge, finding, or conviction expunged if he or she has not been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor, or violation, excluding minor traffic violations, within the last five years.”

This bill is the top legislative priority of marijuana proponents.

Alabamians 4 Medical Cannabis Freedom & Disability Rights announced on Monday, “We are very thankful to issue a Call to Action/Action Alert for SB160-A decriminalization & expungement bill introduced by Senator Bobby Singleton. We are in full support of this piece of legislation AND Senator Singleton.”

“As the Founder & President of Alabamians 4 Medical Cannabis Freedom & Disability Rights, I want to encourage everyone and every advocacy organization to please support this bill,” said President Melissa Mullins.

The legislation is opposed by many conservatives in law enforcement who are averse to decreasing the penalties for marijuana as they consider it to be a gateway drug.

The Alabama Judiciary Committee meets at 8:30 a.m. in the Alabama Statehouse on Wednesday in Room 325.

State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. No public hearing has been called by opponents as of press time.

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