Is Cannabis Legal in Alabama?

Weed is not legal for recreational use in Alabama, although you will be able to get THC medically if you have a qualifying condition soon.

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Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson is the senior editor at CBD Oracle, and has been covering science, vaping and cannabis for over 10 years. He has a MS in Theoretical Physics from Uppsala...

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Map of cannabis laws in Alabama
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Key Takeaways

  • Alabama legalized medical marijuana in 2021, but recreational use remains illegal, and sales have not yet begun.
  • Possession of any amount of weed for personal use can result in up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $6,000, with harsher penalties for subsequent offenses.

Weed is legal in Alabama for medical use but illegal for recreational use.

Although the state does have a medical marijuana program, it’s important to note that it only passed in 2021 and that official sales still haven’t begun yet.

In fact, even when they do, you’re still limited in terms of what you can buy, and flower is not allowed.

With so many strict weed laws in Alabama, finding out the facts is crucial before you try to get high in the state.

Alabama legalized medical marijuana but not recreational marijuana.

If you have a qualifying condition, you can get THC in the form of gummies or capsules (but not flower).

Recreational cannabis use is completely illegal in Alabama.

If you’re caught with cannabis in the state and it isn’t one of the approved forms for medical use (and you don’t have a prescription) you will be punished for possession.

In short, Alabama recreational weed laws don’t exist, and even the medical laws are far from as liberal and open as they are in many parts of the country.  

Penalties for Possession

With weed being illegal in Alabama, there are penalties if you’re caught with even a small amount.

Unlike most states, Alabama basically considers any amount of weed an equivalent crime, provided it’s only for personal use.

  • If you’re caught with weed for the first time, it’s considered a class A misdemeanor and carries a punishment of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $6,000.
  • For a subsequent offense, it’s a class D felony, punishable by between 1 year and 1 day and 5 years in jail, with a fine of up to $7,500.

It’s important to stress that having less than 1 gram of weed is the same as having 50 grams under Alabama law, provided it’s for personal use in both cases.

Even worse, possession of paraphernalia (e.g. a bong or pipe) is the same punishment as possession of weed: up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $6,000.

Alabama’s medical marijuana laws aren’t as liberal as in many states, but medical marijuana is technically legal in the state.

However, the medical marijuana law doesn’t allow flower, and there currently aren’t any dispensaries operating to buy any form of marijuana.

Technically, medical cannabis has been legal in some form in Alabama since the passing of Carly’s Law in 2014, but this was only to provide CBD oil to children with seizure disorders.

This was updated in 2016 with Leni’s Law (which widened the number of conditions treatable with CBD oil), but the law in its present form is really down to SB 46, which passed in mid-2021.

This legalized medical cannabis more broadly, making it possible to get THC and establishing a list of 16 approved conditions.  

However, despite the law having passed, medical marijuana is still not available in the state in practice. The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) started accepting licensing applications in 2022, but many issues have arisen since then.

The AMCC changed its licensing rules in October 2023 and began accepting applications again, but litigation ground this process to a halt in January 2024. 

Unfortunately, this is where medical marijuana in Alabama still stands today. 

Medical Marijuana Patient Possession Limits

Although the Alabama medical marijuana laws are really only just getting started, the limits for possession under the program have been roughly established already (page 11).

In short, patients will be allowed to have a 60-day supply of medical cannabis under the program.

While it’s technically up to physicians to determine what a day’s supply is, it can’t be more than 50 mg of THC per day, unless treatment hasn’t been effective for 90 days or the illness is terminal. In these cases, it’s increased to 75 mg a day.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Alabama?

When the Alabama medical marijuana program is functional, the process for getting your card will work in the same way it does in most states.

You’ll need to get an appointment with a state-licensed physician who is registered with the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission. He or she will have to diagnose you with a qualifying condition, set a daily dosage and the type of medical cannabis you can use.

The qualifying medical conditions are:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Cancer-related cachexia, nausea or vomiting, weight loss, or chronic pain
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy or a condition causing seizures
  • HIV/AIDS-related nausea or weight loss
  • Panic disorder
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Persistent nausea that is not significantly responsive to traditional treatment, except for nausea related to pregnancy, cannabis-induced cyclical vomiting syndrome, or cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Spasticity associated with a motor neuron disease, including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Spasticity associated with Multiple Sclerosis or a spinal cord injury
  • A terminal illness
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • A condition causing chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or has proved ineffective

With a recommendation, a diagnosis of one of the qualifying conditions, and proof of Alabama residency, you can apply for your Alabama medical marijuana card, for a maximum fee of $65.

Can You Consume in Public?

Since medical marijuana is only available in Alabama in fairly “medical” forms, such as capsules or tinctures, you can use your medical marijuana in most places.

However, SB 46 does specify (PDF page 21/document page 20, line 3) that medical marijuana cannot be used or possessed in a K-12 school, daycare, child care facility, a correctional facility, or in a vehicle unless it’s sealed and in its original packaging.

It’s not exactly clear from the law what the punishment for this would be.   

Can You Drive Under the Influence of Marijuana in Alabama?

As in every state, it’s illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana in Alabama.

Even though you may have been legally permitted to use cannabis under the medical marijuana law, this is not a defense against driving under the influence.

Alabama also has an implied consent law, which means that by driving in the state you’ve already consented to blood, breath, or oral fluid testing for impairing substances.

If you’re convicted of a DUI, the punishments depend on how many offenses you have:

  • For a first offense, you’ll receive up to a year in jail, a fine of between $600 and $2,100 or both, and your license will be suspended for 90 days.
  • For a second offense (within 5 years), the fines increase to between $1,100 and $5,100, and the jail time has a minimum of 5 days in jail (or 30 days community service) up to a year (and this may include hard labor). Your license will also be suspended for a year.
  • For a third offense (within 5 years), the fine increases to between $2,100 and $10,100, a mandatory minimum of 60 days in jail up to a maximum of a year. Your license will be suspended for three years.
  • For a fourth or subsequent offense, it’s considered a class C felony and the fine increases to between $4,100 and $10,100, between one year and a day and up to 10 years in jail, and your license will be suspended for five years.

Delta-8 THC is legal in Alabama following the passage of SB 225 in 2019.

This brought Alabama hemp law in line with the federal government’s Farm Bill and defines hemp in exactly the same way (PDF page 3/labeled page 2, lines 11-22).

This means that the only limitation is on the delta-9 THC level, and delta-8 is not mentioned.

However, lawmakers did try to ban delta-8 in 2021, with HB 2. This was originally about other substances, but an amendment addressing delta-8 and delta-10 was added by the Judiciary Committee. In the end, though, this amendment was tabled, so delta-8 remains legal in Alabama for now.

In 2023, lawmakers did successfully pass SB 66, which makes it illegal to sell delta-8 THC (or other intoxicating cannabinoids) to anyone aged under 21. 

RELATED: Where Is Delta-8 THC Legal? A State-by-State Map

Is Weed Decriminalized in Alabama?

Weed isn’t decriminalized in the whole state of Alabama, but it is treated more lightly in a couple of localities.

Jefferson County replaced jail time with a citation in 2019, for small amounts of weed. It isn’t exactly clear what is considered a small amount, nor most common fines, but jail time is definitely off the table.

Tuscaloosa City also decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, making it essentially equivalent to getting a speeding ticket. This seems like it would be $500, although again reports aren’t clear about the exact fine level or threshold amounts.  

Growing weed is definitely not legal in Alabama.

You might think that the Alabama medical marijuana law would include provisions for people who want to grow their own, but it doesn’t.

Since flower is not allowed in the medical program anyway, it makes sense that they also don’t want people to grow their own.

The penalties depend on whether the marijuana was being grown for personal use or for sale, and this is determined by the amount and other factors that might indicate something beyond personal use.

  • If you’re growing for personal use, the penalties are the same (up to a year in jail and a $6,000 fine).
  • If it’s determined to be manufacturing for sale, you’ll get a mandatory minimum of 2 years in jail, up to 20 years maximum, and a fine of up to $30,000. 

Unfortunately, the future outlook for marijuana legalization in Alabama is not great.

With medical cannabis only passing in 2021 and still not being available, recreational legalization is likely some way off.

In the 2022 legislative session, lawmakers considered SB 160, which would have reduced the penalty for possession of less than two ounces of marijuana. It set up a fine system, with $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense, and $750 for third and subsequent offenses. Unfortunately, the decriminalization bill was indefinitely postponed.

Sen. Bobby Shingleton (D) proposed that bill and is clearly passionate about this issue, since a similar attempt got held up in committee in February 2024.

Additionally, local governments are now free to decriminalize in their areas (as Jefferson County and Tuscaloosa have), and this will likely continue.

Decriminalization is much more likely than legalization, but in practice, it’s likely a few more localities will decriminalize before the state legislature approves one of Shingleton’s proposals.


So weed is not legal in Alabama, and even for medical purposes, you can only really get it in very “medical” forms like capsules or strangely dystopian flavorless cubes.

Punishments for possession outside of some specific localities are harsh, and even the medical program has barely gotten off its feet.

However, despite lawmakers’ efforts, delta-8 THC products are still legal in the state, and really the only way to get legally high if you want something like an edible or a vape.

Things may change in the future, but for now, smokers in the state are severely limited.