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Alabama Marijuana Laws

Marijuana law continues to experience a great deal of change throughout the country. More states are legalizing recreational use and/or medical marijuana use every year.

Alabama lawmakers passed a landmark medical marijuana bill in 2021. The Darren Wesley 'Ato' Hall Compassion Act allows the use of marijuana for qualifying medical conditions. This law also created the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) to regulate the medical marijuana program.

However, implementation has been slow. The first medical marijuana products are not expected to be available in the state until 2024 due to pending lawsuits concerning the state licensing process.


Today, almost all forms of marijuana possession, sale, or trafficking in Alabama are illegal. The only exceptions are related to medical conditions.

State law provides legal protections for possession and medical use for registered patients carrying medical marijuana cards. Caregivers who register with AMCC may purchase and possess medical marijuana for cannabis patients.

Common conditions that qualify under the Alabama medical marijuana law include:

  • Terminal illness
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Chronic pain

The only other legal form of marijuana in Alabama is cannabidiol (CBD), which is a compound in cannabis that has beneficial medical effects without sufficient THC levels to cause physical impairment. Consuming raw marijuana plant materials through edibles, smoking, or vaping is not allowed.

The following medical cannabis products are acceptable:

  • Tablets or capsules
  • Tinctures or suppositories
  • Gels, oils, and creams for topical use
  • Nebulizers or transdermal patches
  • Liquids or oils for use in an inhaler

The table below outlines Alabama's main marijuana laws.

Relevant Alabama Marijuana Laws

Code of Alabama

Title 13A - Criminal Code

Title 20 - Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics

Is Marijuana Legal in Alabama?

Possession and use of marijuana is only legal for qualified medical marijuana patients. Qualified caregivers may possess marijuana for their patients but may not use it.

Illegal Drug Possession (Recreational Marijuana)

There are two degrees or levels of unlawful possession of marijuana in Alabama.

First-degree possession is defined as either of the following:

  • Possessing marijuana for something other than personal use (Class C felony)
  • Personal use after a previous conviction of unlawful possession of marijuana (Class D felony)
First-degree offenses can carry penalties of up to 10 years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine.

Possession of marijuana for personal use is classified as possession in the second degree, and it is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor (the highest misdemeanor in Alabama). Conviction can lead to up to a year in jail and up to a $6,000 fine.

Illegal Drug Sale

Selling, delivering, or distributing marijuana and other drugs or controlled substances is illegal. The unlawful distribution of marijuana is a Class B felony subject to between two and 20 years in prison and up to a $30,000 fine.

If an adult sells marijuana to someone under 18, the penalty increases to a Class A felony. Class A felonies are subject to 10-99 years or life imprisonment and up to a $60,000 fine.

Selling marijuana within three miles of a public or private school or university can trigger an additional penalty of five years in prison, which is not subject to probation.

Illegal Drug Trafficking

Trafficking in cannabis or selling, cultivating, or transporting any marijuana, hash, seeds, synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), etc., is illegal in Alabama. It's a Class A felony, but the mandatory minimum sentences will depend on the amount of marijuana involved:

  • For amounts between one kilo (2.2 pounds) and 100 lbs., the minimum sentence is three years, along with a mandatory $25,000 fine
  • For amounts between 100 lbs. and 500 lbs., the minimum sentence is five years, along with a mandatory $50,000 fine
  • For amounts between 500 lbs. and 1000 lbs, the minimum sentence is 15 years, along with a mandatory $200,000 fine
  • For amounts of 1000 lbs. or more, the penalty is mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility of parole

In addition, under the Alabama Drug Trafficking Enterprise Act, a person who manages at least five people and gets a substantial income from the marijuana trade faces higher fines and longer minimum sentences. For a first-time conviction, the mandatory minimum is 25 years in prison with a fine between $50,000 and $500,000. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment. For a second conviction, the leader is facing mandatory life in prison without parole and a $150,000 to $1,000,000 fine. The sentences under this law cannot be less than what the defendant faces under the trafficking and habitual offender laws alone.

Note: State laws are subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts that include federal decisions, ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the status of any state law(s) you are reviewing.

Get Help With Your Case From an Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one is facing a marijuana-related criminal charge, you should consult with an experienced Alabama defense attorney. The Alabama laws surrounding marijuana change often, and you will want to be sure you know all possible defenses that may be available to you.

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