The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

April 7, 2013

Bill aims to legalize marijuana in Alabama

By Jean Cole

— Our Founding Fathers were known to have grown marijuana on their colonial farms of the 1700s.

Among them, Benjamin Franklin, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe. However, our forefathers grew hemp for business, not for a buzz.

Alabama farmers cannot legally grow industrial hemp. Neither can Alabama residents legally buy or smoke marijuana for recreational or medical purposes.

A proposed bill prefiled Friday in the state House of Representative would change that. House Bill 550, sponsored by state Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Huntsville, would legalize the medical and recreational use of marijuana as well as the cultivation of industrial hemp.

The question is whether state lawmakers — who only last week allowed Alabama to become the 50th state in the nation to permit the home brewing of beer — are ready to legalize pot.