Legislation to decriminalize the possession of individual amounts of marijuana has been passed unanimously by an Alabama Senate committee.

The Senate Judiciary Committee not too long ago voted 11 to to pass the marijuana decriminalization bill, sending it towards a vote by the complete Senate. The vote marks a enormous shift boost in assistance from just final year, when the committee passed the measure six to four (even though it sooner or later stalled in the Home). If passed by the complete Senate, the measure would then have to have to pass the Home of Representatives just before it can be sent to Governor Kay Ivey (R) for consideration.

Below the proposed law, these caught possessing no extra than an ounce of marijuana would be hit with, at most, a $250 fine for the initially two offenses, and a $500 fine for subsequent offenses. As noted by Marijuana Moment, possession of extra than an ounce but much less than two ounces would be viewed as a class A misdemeanor, when possession of extra than two ounces would be a class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The legislation could “decrease receipts” for the state government’s common fund from fines, according to a state fiscal note, but could also “decrease the obligations of nearby jails, the State Basic Fund, the district attorneys, the Division of Corrections, neighborhood corrections applications, and the Board of Pardons and Paroles by an undetermined quantity dependent upon the quantity of persons charged with and convicted of the offenses supplied by this bill and the penalties imposed.”

“It’s encouraging that even in a single of the most conservative states in the nation, lawmakers are recognizing that jailing marijuana customers does not make sense,” Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies at the  Marijuana Policy Project, told Marijuana Moment.

“North Carolina and Mississippi enacted comparable reforms back in the 1970s,” she stated. “Even a short jail remain can be traumatic—or even deadly—and can disrupt housing and employment, with devastating consequences.”

The measure was introduced final month by Senator Bobby Singleton (D), who named the state’s existing laws arbitrary.

“We can not continue to send folks to prison for petty crimes that are absolutely nonviolent,” he told WHNT News 19 final month.

Under is a appear at Alabama’s existing marijuana possession laws:

Any Quantity Deemed for Private Use:

Penalty: Misdemeanor with up to 1 year in jail and/or a $six,000 fine

Other than Private Use:

Penalty: Felony with 1 year and 1 day in prison mandatory with a 10 year maximum, and/or a $15,000 fine.

For additional information and facts on Alabama’s marijuana laws – like penalties for distribution and cultivation – click right here. For current updates to Alabama’s marijuana possession laws and other Alabama-connected stories, click right here.