Alabama’s state flower is the camellia, but quietly is also cannabis?
Alabama is a grow state. Agriculture has over a $70 billion economic impact in Alabama. It has more than 44,000 farms covering 8.9 million acres. One out of every 4.6 jobs in the state relates to agriculture and forestry. They know the soil, the seasons and the plants. And it is has been long a hot bed along with the Florida panhandle in illegal marijuana farms. Jackson County, Florida was known as a triple treat as within 20 minutes you could be in another state (Georgia, Alabama, Florida) evading the police. Word is young bucks and old families alike benefit from grows which encroach into tree farms helping them be profitable.
Yet, the state is slow on ramping up medical marijuana, resisting recreational and one of their Senators is ok with helping the industry. So, you can just never predict what is going to go on in cotton state.
Alabama elected Jeff Session, an arch enemy of the marijuana industry. Attorney General during the Trump administration, he put marijuana as a focus and then fell out of favor. He followed up with the the trend losing his senate race to a football coach. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) recently stated he would vote in favor of the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act) of 2023. The SAFE Banking Act is a bill that would prevent federal banking regulators from prohibiting or penalizing a bank from providing financial services to a state-sanctioned cannabis business.
“Yea, I am a supporter of the SAFE Banking Act,” Tuberville shared when asked by a reporter from Alabama Today.
Said Tuberville, “They’re going to have to prove to me that medical marijuana is good. As long as it’s medical marijuana and as long as you have to have a prescription. If we ever put marijuana on our streets legally, it’s over.” At least he is for helping patients and veterans with PTSD.
This stance is a contrast to his being in hot water for holding up 250 military promotions until he changes the Department of Defense stance on abortion. Key generals are saying we are reaching a point of a national defense crisis due to the delays.
While a grow state, Alabama has been slow to the cannabis economy, partially thanks to the efforts of Jeff Sessions. Alabama is currently 44th in the list of state incomes (New York being at the top and Mississippi at the bottom). In 2021, Alabama became the 37th state to legalize medical marijuana. The process to integrate the new law into daily life is a slow one, but one that is set to be complete by early 2024.
Possession is still a crime and dealing is highly illegal, but popular throughout the states especially in mini tech center Birmingham. People of color are four times more likely to be jailed for possessing cannabis.
In addition, Alabama is not a big drinking state, falling in the lower 20 on the list consuming alcohol. So while Senator Tuberville might help the cannabis industry and other states economies, Alabama is slow footing forward to where the majority of citizens want to see legalization and access. You just never know with Alabama.