The Alabama Democratic Party announced Tuesday that it supports the legalization of cannabis for recreational and medical use in Alabama.
A bill legalizing medical use of marijuana by Alabama residents is currently moving through the state legislature. That bill would allow people with a qualifying medical condition, such as cancer, epilepsy or a terminal illness, to buy marijuana for treatment after getting a recommendation from a doctor.
Here’s more from the party’s news release:
Legalizing cannabis is an extremely popular policy that would help repair damage caused by our criminal justice system and create an economic boom for our state.
“Nearly 100 years of marijuana prohibition and criminalization has trapped thousands of Alabamians, mostly Black, in our broken criminal justice system,” said Rep. Chris England, Alabama Democrats Chair.
“Reforming policy surrounding cannabis not only serves our state in producing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues, but is an important step in reducing arrests and expunging records. Nobody should be sitting in jail for carrying a little bit of weed.”
Alabama spends millions of dollars annually keeping people locked up for possessing marijuana. Not only could Alabama save this money, but could also bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue, thousands of jobs, and opportunities for farmers and entrepreneurs in Alabama to thrive in a new business market.
“We’ve had the discussions in the legislature about medical marijuana, and that’s a good first step, but let’s not allow Mississippi or Georgia to legalize recreational sales before we do. We’ve seen the progress that other states have made. Alabama could be the first state in the Deep South to legalize cannabis for recreational use. We can’t afford to let this opportunity go to another state in our region,” England said.
Public opinion surrounding recreational cannabis has also shifted drastically over the past decade.
“Legalizing marijuana is not only the right thing to do, it’s popular,” said Wade Perry, Executive Director of the Alabama Democrats.
“Recent polling shows that 70% of voters and a majority of people in all demographics and age groups favor legalization. Even two-thirds of Republican voters support legalization. Whether somebody is fishing on Weiss Lake, sitting on their porch in Wilcox County, or relaxing after a long day of work in Birmingham, Alabamians are already smoking pot. Any politician standing in the way of cannabis legalization is holding our state back and making a dumb political calculation.”
The Alabama Democrats will continue to roll out facts surrounding cannabis legalization and have launched a new line of merchandise that people can wear to show their support.
Jessica Washington, Political Director for the Alabama Democrats said, “Bad policies surrounding cannabis have disproportionately affected communities of color and we need reform. Our party is going to continue having conversations about this issue with not only our legislators, but community leaders, activists, and voters. As we return to in-person campaigning, this will be a big topic of conversations on the doors, over the phone, at events, and on social media all the way through Election Day in 2022.”