Tuscaloosa resident arrested for drug trafficking

Published 4:43 pm Monday, July 24, 2023

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By BARTON PERKINS | Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Tuscaloosa resident James Porter III was arrested on Thursday, July 20 and charged with drug trafficking in North Shelby County. 

According to arrest records, Porter was apprehended in a gas station parking lot after being pulled over by police. He was found to have three pounds of marijuana and a loaded firearm.

Marijuana is only legal for medical use in Alabama, though as of May of this year, the program is still rolling out. Current legislation around unlawful cannabis possession can charge an individual with either a misdemeanor or felony based on the amount of marijuana in their possession. 

A person unlawfully possesses marijuana when the drug is used for anything other than personal use or if it is possessed for personal use after a prior conviction for unlawful possession can be charged with a Class-C Felony. This can result in jail time of up to 10 years and fines of up to $15,000.

By contrast, an individual who only possesses cannabis for personal use can be charged with only a misdemeanor, resulting in up to one year of incarceration and a fine of $6,000.

Alabama does not require a permit or license to carry a loaded firearm in any vehicle. However, there are legal ramifications for carrying a loaded firearm while transporting a controlled substance like marijuana, and that alone can be brought up to a felony charge.

Currently, Porter is being held at Shelby County Jail on a bond of $250,000. His trial has no court date, but information will be released as it becomes available.