Bill to lower penalties for pot possession clears Senate committee, falters in House

(Photo RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A proposal to lower the penalty for marijuana possession cleared its first hurdle in the Alabama Legislature, but faces a dubious future as it heads to a possible floor vote.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-4 Wednesday to approve the bill by Republican Sen. Dick Brewbaker of Pike Road.

The bill would make possession of an ounce or less of marijuana punishable by a fine instead of jail time. An offense would be classified as a violation, a step below a misdemeanor, and carry a fine of up to $250.

Brewbaker said the state should not “hang felonies on college kids.”

While the Senate committee approved the bill, the proposal faltered in the House.

The House Judiciary Committee voted down a nearly identical bill by Rep. Patricia Todd of Birmingham.