Marijuana is a controversial drug and the focus of much debate right now. Many states have begun legalizing cannabis, including its possession, use, retail and cultivation, with strict regulations in place. Other states have moved to decriminalize it, or legalize medicinal use.

In Alabama, marijuana (or, as Alabama’s lawbooks call it, “marihuana”) is still illegal among all forms of use or possession, with the exception of CBD products, which extract the psychoactive TCH compound. In fact, Alabama has some of the most unforgiving cannabis laws on its books.

With cannabis laws shifting nationwide and more people vacationing in states where its recreational use is legal, it’s good to refresh your understanding of your own state’s laws and penalties to avoid unintended consequences.

Breaking down Alabama’s cannabis laws

In Alabama, marijuana is divided into three categories:  Class A misdemeanor, which includes first-time personal use or possession charges; Class C felony, which involves possession for non-personal use (like intent to distribute); and Class D felony, which is a second-time charge for personal possession or use.

It’s illegal to sell or traffic marijuana, which includes transporting, growing, or selling any seeds, THC-containing plant parts, or hash. Selling marijuana to an adult is a Class B felony, whereas selling to a minor under age 18 is upgraded to a Class A felony.

Defending your rights against drug charges in Alabama

If you’re charged with the sale, possession, use, or trafficking of cannabis, you should seek legal representation from a lawyer with experience defending against drug charges. In many circumstances, the charges can be reduced or even dropped.

Sometimes, law enforcement will overstep your rights to conduct a search or seizure without a warrant or reasonable cause for suspicion. If that happens, be sure to get badge and plate numbers, and if possible, film or photograph the incident.

In any event, know that an experienced attorney can help you build a case for yourself and work to keep the courts from increasing your charges to create an “example.”