Cannabis was banned in Alabama in 1931. It’s been banned ever since. Possession of any amount of marijuana for personal consumption can get you penalized for a misdemeanor with either $6,000 fine or a year in prison.
In cases where an individual is caught with an amount of weed greater than what could classify as personal use, you could be facing felony charges of up to 10 years in prison or a $15,000 fine.
A lot of states have legalized medical marijuana and there have been 8 states who approved recreational marijuana use for adults but Alabama state legislators do not seem to be gearing towards the legalization of weed anytime soon. Although Cannabidiol or CBD has been legal in the state since 2014 when the University of Alabama began its study on the cannabinoids.
A judge this week sentenced 40-year-old Robert Michael Musick of Athens to three years in prison and two years of probation for drug trafficking.
The Athens News Courier reports Musick was arrested in 2015 after police found marijuana plants in the yard behind his home.
Investigators got a search warrant and secured the area. Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson estimated the seven plants would yield 15-20 pounds “if all the leaves were harvested.”
Cops also found piles of cannabis leaves, stems, “finished smoking product,” six pipes “with marijuana residue inside,” and three large bongs “with residue.” The report also notes the presence of two marijuana grinders “with debris” and two jars of seeds, according to a complaint filed by Police Investigator Mickey Hart.
Musick’s first trial ended in a deadlocked jury and a mistrial. Just under two months later, he was re-tried and convicted.
It all began in August 2015 when the Athens Police Department got a tip that Musick was growing cannabis in his backyard. The officers seized seven marijuana plants from him, ranging from three to 10 feet tall.
“When investigators checked the information, they could see the plants growing in the backyard,” Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson said at the time. “The owner of the property refused our request to go in the backyard.”
A second trial, however, began in November 2017. Jurors in that trial only took about two and a half hours to return a unanimous guilty verdict.
Judge Baker sentenced Musick to 10 years last week under Alabama law. However, he split the sentence so that Musick is only required to serve three years in prison. The other seven years were suspended, pending the successful completion of two years’ probation. Musick was also fined $25,000, court records show.
Three years is too harsh, according to attorney Phillips. “It’s definitely time for a change in the law,” she said. “No one should serve three years for growing marijuana in [their] backyard.”