Residents of Alabama who use marijuana may not realize it, but they are violating the law if they do no purchase a marijuana tax stamp from the state. Unfortunately, nobody is able to actually purchase Alabama marijuana tax stamps even though they are required by law.
What Are Alabama Marijuana Tax Stamps?
These tax stamps are required in Alabama because the state law banning marijuana is based on a federal statute called the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. This federal law used various means to ban the sale of marijuana, and ended up requiring anybody who bought or sold cannabis for personal consumption to get a tax stamp.
This meant that anybody who was in possession of marijuana without a tax stamp was violating the law. To make it possible for federal agents to arrest people using marijuana, the federal government never actually issued the stamps which effectively made marijuana illegal in the US.
The federal Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 has been repealed because it was found unconstitutional, but the Alabama Marijuana Tax Stamps requirement is still in the books. People who violate it can still go to prison or worse.
Penalties for Violating Alabama Marijuana Tax Stamps Law
Possession of marijuana without a tax stamp in Alabama is described as a Class C felony by section §40-17A of the Alabama State Code. A Class C felony in Alabama is punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison or a $5,000 fine. People who violate this law near a school or housing project can face minimum jail time.
The Alabama Marijuana Tax Stamps law imposes a $3.50 a gram tax on Marijuana in Alabama if a person possesses more than 42.5 grams of it. Theoretically a person arrested with more than 42.5 grams of marijuana could be forced to pay 200 times the amount of the tax.
Is it Constitutional?
Unfortunately Alabama’s courts have ruled the tax stamp statute on at least two separate occasions. Neither of the decisions upholding the Alabama Marijuana Tax Stamps has been overturned.
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