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Week Nine Legislative Report

Beth Lyons

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The Alabama Legislature convened for day 19 of the annual Regular Session on Tuesday, March 13 with twenty-seven committee meetings held throughout the week to consider legislation. Both Houses then convened on Thursday, March 15 for Day 20.

There have been 915 bills introduced to date.

The Legislature will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, March 20 for day 21 of the Session with the House and Senate convening at 2:00 p.m. Fifteen committees have scheduled meetings as of the time of this report.

SIGNIFICANT INTRODUCTIONS THIS WEEK:

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would prohibit the possession, sale, or transfer of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee [SB383 by Senator Hank Sanders].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would prohibit the carrying and possession of a firearm on the premises of a public school regardless of whether the person has intent to do bodily harm and would provide criminal penalties. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee [SB394 by Senator Harri Anne Smith].

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A bill was introduced in the House that would prohibit the sale or transfer of an assault weapon to any person under 21 years of age. The bill is pending in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee [HB513 by Representative Ralph Howard].

A bill was introduced in both Houses that would allow public schools to offer elective courses focusing on the study of the Bible in grades 6 through 12, and allow the display of artifacts, monuments, symbols and texts related to the study of the Bible. The bills are pending in the Senate Education and Youth Affairs Committee and the House Education Policy Committee [SB391 by Senator Tim Melson and HB511 by Representative Reed Ingram].

A bill was introduced in the House that would allow the State of Alabama to observe Daylight Savings Time year-round upon an act by Congress to amend the existing prohibition in federal law. The bill is pending in the House State Government Committee [HB508 by Representative Craig Ford].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would further provide for permits for shoreline restoration, including the use of living shoreline techniques, by riparian property owners in coastal areas. The bill is pending in the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee [SB395 by Senator Greg Albritton].

A bill was introduced in the House that would provide reporting requirements, publication requirements, and certain requirements regarding the accounting of funds derived from civil forfeiture. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee [HB518 by Representative Arnold Mooney].

SIGNIFICANT COMMITTEE ACTION THIS WEEK:

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development committee held a public hearing, but did not vote, on a bill that would revise notification and confidentiality provisions governing certain economic incentives provided for by law and would clarity what incentives are subject to the notification requirements [HB317 by Representative Ken Johnson].

The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee amended and passed a bill that would allow an out-of-state vendor participating in the Simplified Sales and Use Tax Remittance Program (SSUT) to continue to participate in the Program if a physical presence in the state is established through the acquisition of an in-state company, provide that the transaction is subject to sales tax if completed at a retail establishment, and provide that the eligible seller also includes sales through a marketplace facilitator. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB470 by Representative Rod Scott].

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee held a public hearing and substituted a bill that would authorize certain persons employed by a state or local board of education to carry a firearm on school premises. The bill now goes to the full House [HB435 by Representative Will Ainsworth].

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee held a public hearing and carried over a bill that would authorize the formation of trained volunteer school emergency security forces at public K-12 schools in the state consisting of current and retired school employees and local citizens [HB449 by Representative Allen Farley].

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that would provide that a person is not criminally liable for using physical or deadly force in self-defense or in the defense of another on the premises of a church. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB34 by Representative Lynn Greer].

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a House bill that would authorize the State Fire Marshal to regulate and issue pyrotechnic display operator licenses and pyrotechnic special effects operator licenses to persons who provide fireworks displays, pyrotechnics, and related special effects to an audience. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB376 by Representative Barbara Drummond].

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that would expand the list of non-curable lease breaches, shorten the notice period of noncompliance with a lease from seven days to three days, and provide that a tenant is entitled to only two curable breaches, instead of four, within any 12 month period. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB421 by Representative David Sessions].

The House Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would require county and municipal police departments and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to adopt written policies to prohibit racial profiling, compile statistic on traffic stops and file reports with the Office of the Attorney General. The bill now goes to the full House [SB84 by Senator Rodger Smitherman].

The Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would re-authorize certain sales and property tax abatements for data processing centers for an additional five year period. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB379 by Senator Jabo Waggoner].

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would further provide for persons charged with driving under the influence and the installation of ignition interlock devices. The bill now goes to the full House [SB301 by Senator Paul Bussman].

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee substituted and gave a favorable report to a bill that would require the Department of Public Health to establish a form for an Order for Pediatric Palliative and End of Life Care to be used by medical professionals outlining medical care provided to a minor with a terminal illness. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB194 by Representative April Weaver].

The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee held a public hearing and gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would add a manufacturers license to the types of alcohol beverage licenses for an establishment that conducts tastings or samplings in an entertainment district. The bill now goes to the full House [SB339 by Senator Rodger Smitherman].

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would create the Voluntary Alabama Firearms Do Not Sell List and allow a person to restrict his or her firearm purchasing authority by voluntarily adding his or her name to the List. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB376 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that would prohibit the possession or sale of sky lanterns. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB325 by Representative Ron Johnson].

The House Judiciary Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would provide for the voluntary transfer of a case from municipal court to the county district or circuit court when the defendant qualifies for a pretrial diversion program, mental health court, veteran court or similar program. The bill now goes to the full House [SB37 by Senator Cam Ward].

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that would add certain enumerated public officials and boards to the list of entities supported by the Alabama Workforce Council, and revise the membership of the Council. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB170 by Representative Alan Baker].

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that would provide for the issuance of a non-profit special events retail license and provide that a licensed manufacturer may donate its product to a licensed non-profit special event. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB414 by Representative Craig Ford].

The House Fiscal Responsibility Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would require a county, municipality or local school board entering a bond financing agreement to include a schedule of all of their debt obligations for the time span of the maturity of the debt obligation. The bill now goes to the full House [HB500 by Representative Chris Sells].

SIGNIFICANT FLOOR ACTION THIS WEEK:

The House substituted, amended and passed the $1.75 billion General Fund Budget which includes an additional $53.8 million for Medicaid, an additional $55 million for Corrections, and funds for a 3% cost of living increase for non-education state employees. The bill now returns to the Senate for action on the House amendments [SB178 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The Senate substituted, amended and passed the $6.63 billion Education Trust Fund Budget which includes funds for a 2.5% increase for K-12 employees, 197 additional middle school teachers, a $18 million increase for Pre-K, a $16 million increase for community colleges, a $27 million increase for 4 year colleges, and a $450,000 increase for public libraries. The bill now returns to the House for action on the Senate amendments [HB175 by Representative Bill Poole].

The Senate passed a House bill that would give a cost-of-living increase of 2.5% to public education employees. The bill now goes to the Governor [HB174 by Representative Bill Poole].

The House passed a Senate bill that would make a $30 million supplemental appropriation for the Department of Corrections. The bill now goes to the Governor [SB175 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The House amended and passed a Senate bill that would authorize a 3% cost-of-living increase for state employees. The bill returned to the Senate for action on the House amendment which was approved. The bill now goes to the Governor [SB185 by Senator Clyde Chambliss].

The House substituted and passed a Senate bill that would allow certain retirees under the Employees’ Retirement System to receive a one-time lump-sum bonus to their retirement allowances. The bill returned to the Senate for action on the House substitute which was approved. The bill now goes to the Governor [SB215 by Senator Gerald Dial].

The Senate passed a House bill that would provide oversight of currently license exempt faith-based child care facilities. The bill now goes to the Governor [HB76 by Representative Pebblin Warren].

The House amended and passed a bill that would create the Alabama Task Force on School Safety and Security and would authorize the task force to annually study the current educational and safety laws, rules, and policies of the state in order to assist the Legislature in making effective changes to protect and benefit the citizens of the state. The bill is now pending in the Senate Education and Youth Affairs Committee [HB447 by Representative Terri Collins].

The Senate passed a bill that would allow funds in the Education Trust Fund Budget Stabilization Fund to be used for school security. The bill is now pending in the House Ways and Means Education Committee [SB323 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The House amended and passed a bill that would require law enforcement officers to complete sensitivity training, would require law enforcement agencies to recruit licensed social workers to be law enforcement officers, and require uniformed officers who carry firearms to also carry non-lethal weapons. The bill is now pending in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee [SB335 by Senator Rodger Smitherman].

The Senate passed a bill that would designate the first day of December of each year as Mrs. Rosa L. Parks Day. The bill now goes to the House [SB365 by Senator Vivian Figures].

The House passed a Senate bill that would establish the Alabama Infrastructure Bank to provide for the appropriation and pledge of certain tax revenues, motor vehicle license taxes and registration fees, diesel fuel tax revenues, and motor carrier tax revenues. The bill now goes to the Governor [SB100 by Senator Arthur Orr].

The House passed a bill that would further provide auditing procedures for pharmacy records and would limit recoupment for certain errors by a pharmacy. The bill is now pending in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee [HB457 by Representative Elaine Beech].

The House and Senate passed companion bills that would create the Alabama Rural Hospital Resource Center with the University of Alabama at Birmingham to facilitate access to high quality care and improve the health of rural Alabamians by increasing the viability and capabilities of eligible hospitals at no or minimal cost to those hospitals [HB446 by Representative Randall Shedd and SB351 by Senator Greg Reed].

The Senate substituted and passed a House bill that would modify the Wallace-Folsom Savings Investment Plan to authorize a contribution to, and continued investment in, an ACES Program or ABLE Program savings account by the guardian or conservator of the designated beneficiary, and allow the distributions from the accounts be used toward expenses at any higher education institution. The bill now returns to the House for action on the Senate substitute [HB251 by Representative Ken Johnson].

The Senate passed a bill that would require a county, municipality or local school board entering a bond financing agreement to include a schedule of all of their debt obligations for the time span of the maturity of the debt obligation. The bill is now pending in the House County and Municipal Government Committee [SB364 by Senator Arthur Orr].

The Senate substituted and passed a bill that would increase the amount a licensed manufacturer of liquor may sell at retail for off-premises consumption from 750 milliliters per day to 4.5 liters per day. The bill now goes to the House [SB352 by Senator Jimmy Holley].

The House passed a bill that would re-authorize certain sales and property tax abatements for data processing centers for an additional five year period. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB494 by Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter].

The House amended and passed a bill that would substantially overhaul the Juvenile Justice System, and provide for community-based treatment centers for certain low-level offenders. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB225 by Representative Jim Hill].

The House passed a bill that would allow manufacturers and dealers of boats located within the State to make application to the Department of Revenue for the authority to issue temporary license plates and registration certificates for boat trailers when sold out of state. The bill now goes to the Governor [SB293 by Senator Bill Hightower].

The House amended and passed a bill that would exempt the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo from payment of state, county, and municipal sales and use taxes related to capital expenditures for four years. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB118 by Representative Steve McMillan].

The House amended and passed a bill that would make genital mutilation of a female under the age of 19 a Class D felony. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB284 by Representative Connie Rowe].

The Senate passed a resolution calling on Congress to permanently adopt what is now Daylight Saving Time as the new standard for time in the United States year round. The resolution now goes to the House [SJR101 by Senator Rusty Glover].

BUDGETS:

  • The Education Trust Fund Budget, HB175 by Rep. Poole, has been passed by both chambers and returned to the House for action on a Senate substitute.
  • The General Fund Budget, SB178 by Sen. Pittman, has been passed by both chambers and returned to the Senate for action on a House substitute.

SUMMARY:

  • Bills Introduced: 915
  • Bills that have passed house of origin: 415
  • Bills that have passed both houses: 175
  • Bills that are pending the governor’s signature: 71
  • Bills that have been vetoed: 0
  • Constitutional amendment bills pending referendum: 11
  • Bills enacted: 93

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Courts

Attorney general’s office will prosecute Hoover mall shooting cases

Brandon Moseley

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Attorney General Steve Marshall said his office will take over prosecuting the Nov. 22, 2018, shootings of E.J. Bradford, Brian Wilson and Molly Davis at Hoover’s Riverchase Galleria Mall.

Marshall notified Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr (D) that he is assuming prosecution of the cases after the admission by District Attorney Carr in a letter to Attorney General Marshall of the presence of potential conflicts between himself and key parties in the cases. Attorney General Marshall noted that the conflicts warrant recusal under the National District Attorneys Association’s National Prosecution Standards.

“I have reviewed your December 11th letter regarding your prosecutorial role in the shooting death of Emantic ‘E.J.’ Bradford, Jr.,” Attorney General Marshall wrote District Attorney Carr. “Based on the information you provided in that letter and our multiple conversations on the subject—particularly your acknowledgement that ‘a fair-minded, objective observer could conclude that a conflict exists’—I have determined that the National Prosecution Standards dictate your recusal from the investigation of each of the shootings that occurred in the Riverchase Galleria on Thanksgiving night, not just E.J. Bradford’s.”

“While I have no reason to believe that you are actually biased or compromised, I agree that other fair-minded persons might question your neutrality based on the information that you provided in the letter and during our private conversations,” Marshall said. “For example, you state that the officer who shot Mr. Bradford is either the charging officer or a witness in approximately 20 cases pending in your office. A fair-minded Defendant (or family member) in those cases could question whether you and/or your prosecutors are biased in favor of protecting the officer from prosecution because the officer’s testimony may be important in his or her case. On the flip side, you acknowledge personal relationships with some of the protestors who are calling for the officer who shot Mr. Bradford to be criminally prosecuted, which could lead a fair-minded person to question your bias in favor of indictment. I have weighed these factors and others mentioned during our conversations and agree that, when taken as a whole, these factors warrant recusal under Rule 1-3.3(d).”

National Prosecution Standards rule 1-3.3(d) dictates that:

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The prosecutor should excuse himself or herself from any investigation, prosecution, or other matter where personal interests of the prosecutor would cause a fair-minded, objective observer to conclude that the prosecutor’s neutrality, judgment, or ability to administer the law in an objective manner may be compromised.
Attorney General Marshall also notified Carr that his office would also prosecute the shootings of Brian Wilson and Molly Davis.

“Your letter requests guidance on the ‘officer-involved’ shooting of E.J. Bradford; it does not mention the shootings of Brian Wilson and Molly Davis,” Marshall concluded. “However, it is my understanding that all three shootings were part of a single chain of events. Thus, the investigation of Mr. Bradford’s shooting is inextricably intertwined with the investigation into the shootings of Mr. Wilson and Ms. Davis and must be conducted by the same entity. Accordingly, to guard against inconsistent prosecutorial decisions, you must also excuse yourself from those investigations.”

According to police accounts, a 21-year-old Hueytown man, Emantic “E.J.” Bradford Jr., and his friend Brian Wilson, age 18, were at the Hoover Riverchase Mall on Thanksgiving night. A scuffle broke out with some other individuals over some sale priced shoes. A gun was drawn and a shooter shot Brian Wilson. A bullet also struck 12-year-old Molly Davis, who was there shopping with her grandmother, in the back. At some point in all of this, Bradford also pulled a weapon. An off-duty uniformed Hoover Police Officer who was working security for the Galleria rushed to the scene. He saw Bradford with a gun and shot him. Bradford died from his wounds. Twenty-year-old Erron Marquez Dequann Brown has since been arrested for shooting Wilson.

Attorney, Ben Crump has been retained by the Bradford family. Crump says that an independent review of the autopsy results indicate that the officer shot Bradford in the back three times. According to Crump, there are witnesses that claim that the officer never identified himself before opening fire on Bradford.

Hoover police wrongly identified Bradford as the mall shooter in the hours after the incident. Investigators realized that was not the case after it was determined that the bullets that were cut out of Wilson could not have come from Bradford’s gun. The Hoover police officers has not yet been formally identified by authorities.

A number of protestors are blaming Hoover for all of this and has been attempting to interfere with businesses and shoppers in the weeks since the shooting. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is investigating the case.

Steve Marshall is a former district attorney in Marshall County. He was recently elected to his own term as attorney general.

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Featured Columnists

Opinion | Trump’s con game is almost over

Josh Moon

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It’s all true.

All of the rumors. All of the speculation. All of the oh-my-God-have-you-heard-about whispers.

All of it is true.

All of the things that Donald Trump and his administration and family have been accused of doing … they actually did them. All of them.

Even the really dumb ones.

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Even the really awful ones.

They did it all.

Oh, listen, I know that the typical Alabama conservative voter has zero idea what I’m talking about right now, because they have so fully wrapped themselves in the protective bubble of conservative opinion sources that they’re still talking about the Clinton Foundation. But I don’t care.

Because this isn’t speculation. Or partisan hopefulness. Or ignorant accusations.

This is under oath.

And right now, after the last two weeks, here’s what people under oath, facing the penalty of perjury and providing supporting evidence and documentation, have said about the conman you people elected president: He has lied repeatedly. He has directed illegal payments. He has sought to cover up affairs. He has bought off a tabloid. At least 14 members of senior campaign staff were in contact with Russians. And Trump — or “Individual 1,” as he’s known in court filings these days — was involved in it all.

Trump’s personal attorney has now been convicted and sentenced to three years in prison for a crime personally directed by the president.

That makes five — FIVE! — of Trump’s top aides or attorneys who have struck deals with Robert Mueller and are now working with the broad investigation into possible (certain) Russian interference and collusion.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Trump’s personal businesses are also under federal investigation. His campaign staff’s use of funds is now under federal investigation. And most of his immediate family is under investigation.

And absolutely none of this should be a surprise to anyone.

Because all of you should have known well before this clown was elected president that he is nothing more than a two-bit conman with an ego large enough to fill a stadium and less shame than a 90-year-old stripper.

You should know because we told you. We, the media. The actual media.

We wrote story after story on this crook and his shady business dealings — how he rarely paid his bills, how he left working men holding the bill, how he created a scam college to bilk poor people out of money, how he skirted laws and tax codes constantly and how he gamed the system over and over again to stay wealthy using taxpayer money.

All of it was right there for anyone to read.

But a good portion of this country didn’t care. They were too caught up in this buffoon making jokes and calling people names and kicking people out of rallies and saying offensive things. He catered to white men and claimed he could fix any problem just by saying he could fix any problem.

And they bought it. Just like the conman planned. You didn’t even make this dude show you his tax returns!

And the white, working-class folks are still buying it. Which would make sense if he had done even one thing to help them.

But he hasn’t.

His economic policies have been a disaster, especially for the people of Alabama. And his tough talk has produced zilch in the way of foreign respect, better trade deals, lower prices for consumers or more American jobs. In fact, we’ve lost respect, have worse deals and higher prices and companies are still moving American jobs to other countries.

And yet, the supporters remain.

I don’t understand it. But you know what? I don’t have to understand it for much longer.

The walls are quickly closing around the conman president. Soon, the rest of Mueller’s investigation will drop, and the indictments will roll out. The full breadth of the Trump administration’s illegal acts will be laid out for Congress to see. Given what we already know from the few filings that have been made public, this will not go well for Trump and his closest associates.

I do not expect the Trump supporters to ever admit they were wrong.

But if there is justice in this world, and if the indictments break just right, those supporters will have to deal — at least for a brief period — with the two words that could make this whole thing almost worth it.

President Pelosi.

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Aerospace and Defense

Jones appointed to powerful Senate Armed Services Committee

Chip Brownlee

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After a brief stint with no representation on the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, Alabama is back in the mix.

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones has been appointed to the influential committee tasked with overseeing the nation’s armed forces, national security and military research and development. Jones will assume his position on the committee when the 116th Congress convenes in January.

Alabama is home to five military bases, which employ 8,500 active-duty service members and more than 23,000 civilians. With Jones’ appointment, Alabama will regain some representation for the aerospace industry in Huntsville and the shipbuilding industry in Mobile, both of which have deep ties to the military.

In 2017, the Department of Defense spent $7.7 billion on contracts in Alabama. Alabama hasn’t had any representation on the committee since Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions left the Senate to become attorney general and his temporary replacement, Luther Strange, lost the Republican primary to Roy Moore.

More than 375,000 veterans, including 65,000 retirees, live in Alabama.

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“Alabama and its citizens have long played a significant role in our national defense, from building or maintaining ships and other vehicles to leading cutting-edge research and development to volunteering to serve in our armed forces,” Jones said. “It is vital that we have a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee, a role that I am honored to be able to fill in the next Congress.”

Jones said he is committed to serving as Alabama’s advocate for a strong national defense, which also means a strong and prosperous economy in our state.

“I look forward to working with Chairman Inhofe and Ranking Member Reed to advocate for our service members and their families, and for a robust national defense posture that protects our interests at home and abroad,” Jones said.

Democrats had to fill three seats on the committee after losing three of the senior Democrats who were serving there. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida; Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri; and Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, all lost their re-election to the Senate, leaving a gaping hole for the Democrats. Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, is the highest-ranking Democrat on the committee.

“Senator Jones is a tremendous advocate for Alabama and a true champion for our service members and their families,” Reed said. “I am pleased to welcome him to the committee and know he’ll continue working on a bipartisan basis to help keep America strong militarily and economically.”

Jones will remain on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where his office says he will continue to advocate for improved access to health care and quality educational opportunities for Alabamians.

Jones will also continue to serve on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and the Senate Special Committee on Aging. He will no longer serve on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

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Crime

Farm Bill legalizes hemp-derived Cannabidiol

Brandon Moseley

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Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall joined with the leadership of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Office of Prosecution Services and the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences to draft and distribute public guidance on the current state of Alabama law on the possession, use, sale or distribution of Cannabidiol, or CBD.

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives gave final passage to the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill), HR2, which is expected to be signed into law by President Donald J. Trump (R).

This bill contains a provision legalizing industrial hemp, beyond the existing pilot programs passed by Congress in 2014. As a result of this Congressional action, CBD derived from industrial hemp, with a THC concentration of not more than .3 percent, can be legally produced, sold, and possessed in the State of Alabama. However, as stated in the bill, the new federal law will not prevent states from adopting laws to restrict or regulate the production of industrial hemp.

Furthermore, prescription drugs and other consumables containing CBD will continue to be regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The guidance below still applies to CBD derived from marijuana or CBD derived from hemp with above a .3 percent (three one-thousandths) THC concentration.

Marijuana possession remains illegal in Alabama and is punishable by a Class A misdemeanor when possessed for personal use or by a Class C felony when possessed for reasons other than personal use. The Alabama Criminal Code makes it illegal to sell, furnish, give away, deliver, or distribute a controlled substance, including marijuana. The Alabama Criminal Code makes it illegal to “traffic”—sell, manufacture, deliver, or bring into the state—any part of a cannabis (marijuana) plant in an amount greater than 2.2 pounds. This crime carries mandatory prison time that increases with the weight of the marijuana in question.

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On October 28, 2018, the Alabama Department of Public Health adopted a rule allowing for the medical use of FDA-approved drugs that contain CBD (i.e., Epidiolex). In other words, Epidiolex is now legal for a doctor to prescribe for the treatment of two forms of epilepsy—Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. While Carly’s Law and Leni’s Law provide only an affirmative defense to the otherwise illegal possession of CBD, Epidiolex will be regulated in the same way as any other prescription drug.

The Farm Bill will legalize hemp nationwide. The 10,000-year-old plant is one of the fastest growing plants and has a variety of commercial items including paper, textiles, clothing, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, skincare etc.

Dr. Bomi Joseph, Founder of Peak Health Center, ImmunAG, LLC and creator of Phyto Farmacy discussed the importance of this bill as it will define hemp as a regular agricultural crop, clarifying the legal status of extracts and allowing hemp.

Dr. Bomi said that there is a stigma surrounding hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD), as many people that could benefit from CBD won’t touch it due to its association with the infamous marijuana leaf. Because of this, Dr. Joseph believes cannabidiol should be called phytobidiol as it is a plant source that can be extracted completely separate from the cannabis plant itself.

Dr. Joseph is the creator of ImmunAG, a high potency CBD derived from the humulus kriya plant created due to the current regulations around hemp and cannabis derived CBD. The passage of the farm bill will remove hemp, and any legal ambiguity surrounding hemp derived CBD from the Controlled Substances Act.

All of the Alabama Congressional Delegation voted in favor of the Farm Bill.

The Attorney General updated his memorandum on marijuana and CBD. The updated memo can be read from the Attorney General’s website.

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Week Nine Legislative Report

by Beth Lyons Read Time: 13 min
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