There’s been a drastic change in the country’s attitude toward marijuana use since the 1980s when anti-drug campaigns called it a “gateway drug,” and laws regarding its possession were being ramped up as a deterrent. Now, marijuana is legal for adult recreational use — like alcohol — in some states. In most others, there are provisions in place for the drug to be used medicinally by at least some people. Individual jurisdictions have even decriminalized possession of small amounts of the drug so that they can focus their resources elsewhere. That’s not so in Alabama.

Alabama has taken a hardline stance against marijuana use of any kind. State officials are generally inclined to deny the very idea that marijuana could ever be medicine and insist that the drug is far too dangerous to lessen enforcement efforts. With that in mind, it’s wise to review the way that marijuana laws are enforced in this state.

Possession of marijuana for your own personal use is a Class A misdemeanor, which can get you up to a year in jail and a fine of $6,000. However, it’s easy to find yourself charged with something even more serious — especially once you know that prosecutors look at the type of marijuana you have and the weight of the product when making that determination. (Possession of edibles and concentrates can be particularly problematic because of their weight.)

If you’re charged with possession of marijuana for some purpose “other than personal use,” you can be charged with a Class C felony. If you had a previous conviction for possession, you can be charged with a Class D felony no matter what amount of marijuana you have. At that point, you would be facing more than a year in prison (possibly as many as 10) and up to $15,000 in fines.

In this age of enlightened attitudes toward marijuana use, don’t expect prosecutors to be lenient. Find out more about how an experienced defense attorney can protect your rights.