Potent logo

Taboo to Legalizing Cannabis

Difference between Alabama and California Laws and Lifestyle

By Stina JourneyPublished 3 years ago 8 min read

Cannabis started as a medicinal and homeopathic property in the early 500BC in Central Asia.

First recordings of it being used for pain relief was in 1830 in India.

In the United States, marijuana was being used alongside other drugs that were harmful like heroine and cocaine in the 1920’s.

By 1931, the United States declared it to be an illegal substance just like alcohol.

By 1937, it was considered a criminal offence to be in possession of it and use it. It is said in the 1960’s and 70’s, with the rise of hippies, older generations were not accepting younger generations to be socially using marijuana because they grew up with the prohibition of alcohol and marijuana. They consider it to be a terrible thing to use.

With the rise of knowledge of the use of marijuana in the past 10 years, medicinal marijuana has been accepted into different places that made it illegal. Interesting how cannabis went from purely medical to illegal and now back to being used as medical.

Fun fact: While marijuana can help with some pain and illnesses, it is known to cause memory loss and decrease in brain development by young people who abuse the consumption. It is also used as a gateway drug for the consumption of more powerful drugs and the actions of intaking more of those drugs.

In Alabama, I barely saw people talking and using weed. Everyone is in hiding when it comes to that topic. It’s so taboo but I feel it’s being used a lot behind closed doors. No one wants to admit they have any and those secret ninja-like illegal exchanges happening when no one is looking. There are no billboards that promote weed. There are no shops that sell even medicinal marijuana. So, my question is, how in the world are cigarettes legal for stores to sell and people to use in public (even inside places) but it’s illegal for a known medicinal mariguana to be illegal?

Moving to California did not quickly change my mind about the use of marijuana. I, for the longest time, have known marijuana to be a substance that led to violence, other drug use, and criminal records. I would not dare to even know where to go to get this product. So, I was in complete culture shock when I was walking down Hollywood Boulevard and seeing the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. People smoking this thing as if it were cigarettes. I could smell it a mile away. It was so strong there. I’ve only seen this place on TV and now it’s like my whole life is a lie. It smelled so much of it wherever we went.

But I thought that would be the only time I’d come across this public use of marijuana. I was mistaken. Everywhere I go, billboards and stores that sell only marijuana. There are convenient stores and even small shops have a section where they sell some CBD products. Yea. Huge culture shock here. Huge. It’s so normal here, a lot more people, even younger people are in possession of it.

In 1996, California legalized medical marijuana with the passing of the Compassionate Use Acto of 1996. Back in September of 2016, California legalized recreational use of cannabis. Passing the Adult Use of Marijuana Act to legalize recreational use of cannabis. It is still illegal to consume, smoke, eat, or vape in public. It is illegal to consume, sell, or be in possession of cannabis at public places such as parks.

But with this law, it is slowly becoming a way for businesses to legally sell cannabis. There are even delivery services here in California. There is an app available (Weedmaps) for people to use if they need cannabis for medical purposes. Those who deliver will have to have some form of state certification to be in possession of marijuana as well as those they sell it to have their medical cards.

I just found out Alabama has officially legalized the use of medical marijuana as of May 2021. The Darren Wesley “Alto” Hall Compassion Act. This law permits the use of medical cannabis for things like chronic pain and illnesses. It can only be used in the form of oral tablets, topical, patches, and liquid oils. There is to be no smoking or vaping or even consuming it in the form of food products such as baked goods. This law won’t be fully in effect until September of 2022.

I honestly didn’t know about this until this month. Alabama has always been a state where people get arrested in possession of cannabis and it didn’t matter if it was medical or not.

Now, because it took Alabama so long to get on board with this, there’s been a lot of said “crimes” and sentences due to people being in possession of cannabis.

With this law in place, the law isn’t fair. Two different people with the same amount of possession can be accused in two different ways. One person caught with only a few grams can face incarceration and a lot of money in fines. That person can be charged with use other than personal while the other person can be charged with only personal use of marijuana. This is uneven justice.

With this justice system being corrupt in Alabama, more and more black people are being arrested with marijuana possession than any other race. I believe with this info, the justice system has marked itself racist. I know it’s a huge thing to say but I believe it to be true. I’m going to get off topic for a split second but while living in Alabama, all my black friends have stated to me to never call the cops on them especially if they are innocent because it doesn’t matter. They are black and will go to jail because of that. It’s a scary unjust system.

Back to the use of marijuana in Alabama. In 2018, Alabama arrested 2,351 people for the possession of marijuana.

Selling or giving marijuana to someone who is a minor (under 18) is considered a Class A felony. Adding 5 years of prison time when someone sells marijuana within a three-mile radius of public housing. This prevents the court from granting probation.

With Alabama making it illegal, it’s costing the state an estimate of $22 million a year. There is no gaining money from this. Locking people up for possession is costing the state money. Taxpayers are paying for this. How is this an okay thing? How is this something we voted for and agreed on? How is the government of this state getting by with losing this much money? It blows my mind!

With this amount of money, instead of helping schools and teachers, it’s being used to make sure the state is marijuana free and giving unjust sentences to people.

Back to California. Once marijuana was legalized, it was now time for those who are locked up for the possession and use to be released and have a clean record.

In Los Angeles and San Joaquin counties, they automatically dismissed or reduced sentences to about 54,000 convicts who were charged for marijuana possession or use. Because of the thousands of inmates, they built this program that’s supposed to pinpoint all charges related to marijuana. This cost over $2 million dollars but it insured everyone was released who needed to be released due to minor possession of marijuana.

This sounded like a lot of money and I’m sure it took so long for each sentence to be looked over and be reevaluated. Now, these people who had a minor charge can be released and find a job and be able to drive again.

Not only was it a good thing for people to be released, but it provided the state another way of tax revenue and businesses to be opened and jobs readily available.

California has the largest market according to The Marijuana Tax Revenue. It’s generating way more money than some farmlands growing food. And if you don’t know, California produces billions of dollars on food. Farmers here are rich. Alabama has no comparison. Sorry. California made around $3.1 billion of legal sales selling marijuana in 2019. In 2018, California profited over $2 billion in legal sales. See the difference?

Alabama is taking taxpayers money capturing minor cases here and California is creating businesses and being able to use the profit for different things. Less inmates in jail and more people with illnesses are being treated. Go figure.

More info according to California’s revenue: California charges businesses per ounce of bud. Each with a different price. Not sure about how this system works. I haven’t looked deep enough on this but it might have to do with farmers who grow marijuana.

California spendings on marijuana tax revenue:

1.regulatory and research costs

2. (60% of it) goes to anti-drug programs for kids

3. 20% goes to environmental programs

4. 20% goes to public safety

I haven’t looked into this deeper and how the state is enforcing this anti-drug program and how they are helping the environment and the safety of Californians. But, from what I see here, the state is doing something.

Where are they getting all this tax revenue? It’s the businesses who have signed up legally to sell marijuana. The taxes on this product are so high. Also, you have to have a license to operate a business to sell marijuana legally. Because of taxes being so high and sellers are wanting to sell it at a cheaper price and not get the government involved, there are illegal sides to this as well. And because of this, illegal sellers are bypassing laws to insure they have profit in the end and not have to pay taxes on this. They’ll even go as far as having people (minors) sell on streets. So, even if it’s legal, people do find a way of selling this product illegally. It’s big money and quick money. Sell it and make some cash. That’s how people think sometimes. It's stated in The United Cannabis Business Association in 2019, there's still a ratio of 3:1 for illegal selling in California.

Remember talking about Weedmaps? It's stated there were illegal companies selling on there. This app is approving shops that aren't state approved in 2018. BUT the reason why there are unapproved companies isn't because of the black market but because there just isn't enough state-approved companies to meet the demand. Want to know more, click here.

Here's an inspirational story from a patient who started using medical cannabis. This patient was diagnosed Dravet's Synrome, a rare form of epilepsy. It started when she was 5 years of age. She suffered around 300 seizures per week. Her parents ended up putting her in a medically induced coma to help her with her pain. But this isn't a life anyone wanted, so they turned to medical cannabis for help. She had no seizures within her first week of using cannabis oil.

It’s interesting to see these two different states from different sides of the country work. I’m going from a place where it was illegal (until 2021) to a place that legalized it since 1996 and 2016. Within that amount of time, Alabama lost revenue and California gained it. What are your thoughts and please correct me if I'm wrong on anything. I've looked things up on multiple sights hoping to bring out enough information on this.

Thank you.


About the Creator

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.