The biggest problem with an effort by Tuscaloosa leaders to relax penalties for marijuana possession is that it makes entirely too much sense. Well, that, and the fact that Tuscaloosa leaders don’t have home rule and can’t make such a change without the Legislature voting to approve it. That means it would be needlessly politicized with the usual banter of misinformation that often stymies any effort for sensible change in our state.
Last Thursday, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox and the City Council hosted state lawmakers from West Alabama for an annual breakfast that traditionally happens shortly before the legislators begin a session.
One of the topics discussed was the problem Tuscaloosa has with jail overcrowding. This city is not alone in that. It is a problem throughout the state, but here locally it is at a crisis level. The mayor noted that the criminal justice system is overwhelmed. A huge contributing factor in that problem is that in Alabama if you’re caught with even a small amount of marijuana, state law says you’ve got to be locked up.