Cannabusiness in Alabama

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Market snapshot

Trends and prospects

How would you describe the current state of the cannabis industry in your jurisdiction, including areas of growth, market prospects and trends, and M&A activity?

The possession, use, and distribution of cannabis is prohibited under Alabama law (Sections 13a-12-211 to 13a-12-214 of the Code of Alabama 1975). As such, there is no legal cannabis industry in Alabama. However, the market prospects for cannabis (including hemp) are promising given Alabama’s abundance of fertile farmland, low property taxes, and relatively inexpensive and available workforce.

Legal framework

Legislation

What primary and secondary legislation governs the use, cultivation and retail of cannabis in your jurisdiction?

The Drug Crimes Amendments Act 1987 (Sections 13A-12-210 et seq. of the Code of Alabama 1975) prohibits the use, production, distribution, and possession of cannabis with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration greater than 0.3% in Alabama. 

The Agriculture Improvement Act 2018 legalized “hemp”—defined as any part of the cannabis sativa L. plant with a THC concentration of 0.3% or less—by removing it from the Controlled Substance Act’s definition of “marijuana.” The Agriculture Improvement Act 2018 permits states to assume control of the regulatory authority over hemp and expressly states that it does not pre-empt them from implementing more stringent regulations regarding hemp. Alabama has yet to promulgate hemp regulations, but the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries has stated that the Alabama Industrial Hemp Research Program Act will be reviewed and amended in light of Congress’s passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act 2018. Consequently, rules and regulations relating to hemp in Alabama have yet to be determined.

The original article, "Cannabusiness in Alabama," first appeared on Lexology Navigator on February 1, 2019.