The Alabama Democratic Party on Tuesday announced that it supports the legalization of cannabis for recreational and medical use in Alabama. The party said in a statement that 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.
State Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, is the chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party.
“Nearly 100 years of marijuana prohibition and criminalization has trapped thousands of Alabamians, mostly Black, in our broken criminal justice system,” England said. “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.”
The ADP said in a statement that Alabama spends millions of dollars annually keeping people locked up for possessing marijuana. Not only could Alabama save this money, but it 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,” England said. “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.”
Wade Perry is the executive director of the Alabama Democratic Party.
“Legalizing marijuana is not only the right thing to do, it’s popular,” Perry said. “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 Democratic Party added that they will continue to roll out facts surrounding cannabis legalization and have even launched a new line of merchandise that people can wear to show their support for the ADP position.
“Bad policies surrounding cannabis have disproportionately affected communities of color and we need reform,” said Jessica Washington, the political director for the Alabama Democratic Party. “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.”
Chey Garrigan is the executive director of the Alabama Cannabis Industry Association.
“We certainly support de-criminalization; but our focus is on passing Senate Bill 46, which would legalize medical marijuana in the state of Alabama,” Garrigan said. “We want people with a demonstrated medical need to get the help that they need here in Alabama without having to travel out of state or break the law and risk criminal prosecution purchasing unregulated product from black market suppliers.”
SB46 is sponsored by state Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence. SB46 has passed the Senate and cleared the House Health and Judiciary Committees. It could be voted on as soon as Thursday, the 25th day of the 2021 Legislative Session. Five days remain.