Alabama Man Breaks into Jail to Deliver Cannabis and Cigarettes
Usually, people try to break out of a jail rather than into one.
Published on November 11, 2021

The Associated Press reports that 19-year old Alabama resident was caught breaking into a county jail on Monday to distribute contraband, including marijuana. Sure, it wasn’t the typical direction for a clandestine trip through a prison fence — but don't say that the man didn’t have a plan.

He just didn’t have a good plan. Around 2 a.m., Jadakis McKinney was sighted on a security camera making an illegal entry by cutting through the fences of Troy, Alabama’s Pike County Jail. He was spotted with the help of his own cell phone, whose screen’s light tipped off authorities. Once arrested in the jail’s parking lot after cutting through two fences, McKinney was charged with criminal trespassing, promoting prison contraband, and marijuana possession.

McKinney was carrying cigarettes, cannabis, phones, and phone chargers.

Upon announcing the off-beat apprehension, Pike Country Sheriff Russell Thomas took the opportunity to announce that they are cracking down on such imports at his incarceration facility. 

“Hopefully can eliminate some of the contraband coming in our jail,” the sheriff told a local news channel. “We were aware that there were contraband, that there had been some coming in. We’d lock the jail down at night. So, you know, inmates are always running scams just because they’re locked up doesn’t mean they stop doing what they’re doing.”

That same news report assured readers that the county will be debuting a brand-new jail in December 2023. 

In Alabama, marijuana possession alone is enough to net you a year in jail and a fine of $6,000, regardless of how much cannabis you are found to be carrying. First-time offenders can receive a misdemeanor, but repeated convictions for possession or possession to sell in the state will net you a felony. Sale to a minor can result in a life sentence. 

McKinney is now being held on a $23,500 bail. 

The state has seen progress in the realm of medicinal marijuana regulation, allowing the University of Alabama to provide CBD oil to epileptic kids in 2014, and becoming the 37th state to legalize medicinal uses this year. (The only states left in the country with no legal marijuana programs are Idaho, Nebraska, and Kansas.) After many years in which marijuana legalization bills stalled in the Congress, a version finally reached the desk of Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, getting signed into law in May. That legislation authorizes medicinal cannabis treatment for 16 different health conditions. The legislation does not authorize cannabis in smokable, vapable, or baked edible forms. Basically, you’re looking at gummies, pill forms, topical products, and suppositories.

The state’s Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission met officially for the first time in August. But as always, the program’s roll-out will be slow in coming. Prospective cannabis businesses, including growers, will be able to apply for their licenses come September 1, 2022, meaning that the first sales in the state are unlikely to take place before 2023. Medical marijuana licenses will carry an annual cost for patients of $65. 

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Caitlin Donohue
Caitlin Donohue is a Bay Area-raised, Mexico City-based cannabis writer and author of She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics and the World. Her weekly show Crónica on Radio Nopal explores Mexican marijuana culture and politics in the prohibition era. Follow Caitlin on IG @byrdwatch.
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