State Appeals Legal Pot Ruling 

  State Appeals Legal Pot Ruling 

Posted by CN Staff on January 21, 2004 at 08:25:58 PT
By Timothy Inklebarger, The Juneau Empire  
Source: Juneau Empire  

The state Supreme Court could decide whether Alaskans legally can smoke pot in their own home. State Attorney General Gregg Renkes has filed a petition with the Supreme Court to review an appeals court decision in November that overturned an earlier conviction for marijuana possession.David Noy, of North Pole, was arrested in 2001 and convicted for possessing marijuana in his home.
Last August, an appeals court reversed the conviction, ruling that Alaskans can possess up to four ounces of marijuana for personal use under the Alaska Constitution.That appeals court decision was based on the 1975 Supreme Court case of Ravin v. State. The Ravin decision made marijuana possession legal in Alaska until 1990, when Alaskans passed a ballot initiative to make possession illegal."It has been nearly 30 years since the Supreme Court last reviewed marijuana," Renkes said in a prepared statement. "We are asking that they take a fresh look at this drug, based on the most recent information available."Renkes argued that the Supreme Court "should not continue to recognize a constitutional right to possess and ingest psychoactive drugs in the home." He also noted that the state constitution recognizes only those rights to privacy that society deems reasonable."The 1990 citizens' initiative criminalizing marijuana indicates that Alaska society is not prepared to recognize private possession of marijuana as reasonable," according to a statement released by the Department of Law.Marijuana legalization advocates are working to repeal that law through a ballot initiative slated for the 2004 general election in November.Renkes also argued that the appeals court decision struck down two state statutes without giving the state the opportunity to demonstrate its interest in criminalizing marijuana or in limiting the amount of marijuana for medical purposes."Substance abuse is arguably the most significant social problem in Alaska, especially for our children," Renkes said. "The public's concern about drugs has changed in the nearly three decades since the Supreme Court decided Ravin. The court needs to consider that."Source: Juneau Empire (AK)Author: Timothy Inklebarger, The Juneau Empire Published: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 Copyright: 2004 Southeastern Newspaper Corp.Website: letterstotheeditor juneauempire.comRelated Articles & Web Site:Free Hemp in Alaska to Vote on Pot Legalization in '04 Prop May Go On '04 Ballot Initiative May Make Ballot

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Comment #5 posted by FoM on January 24, 2004 at 09:48:17 PT
Letter To The Editor from The Juneau Empire
Treat, Don't Jail, Marijuana Addicts Letter To The Editor Friday, January 23, 2004 I agree with state Attorney General Gregg Renkes that "It has been nearly 30 years since the Supreme Court last reviewed marijuana ... they (should) take a fresh look at this drug, based on the most recent information available." ("State appeals legal pot ruling," Jan. 21). But I disagree that Renkes' "fresh look" necessarily supports his position of state jail for marijuana possessors.Why? Consider Peter v. State, a case decided by the court the same year as Ravin (the decision legalizing marijuana possession in the home). In Peter, the court held that public intoxication alone could not be criminalized. Peter described Alaska Statute 47.37.010, which reads, in part: "alcoholics and intoxicated persons should not be criminally prosecuted for their consumption of alcoholic beverages and that they should be afforded a continuum of treatment that can introduce them to, and help them learn, new life skills and social skills that would be useful to them in attaining and maintaining normal lives as productive members of society."Any "fresh look" at marijuana would necessitate a conclusion that, like alcohol, marijuana is an addictive drug. People with drug addictions deserve treatment to learn the new life skills and social skills to help them become productive members of society. Jailing marijuana possessors, though it may work in the rare case, is not only cruel and ineffective at solving the common problems underlying the drug abuse, it is extremely burdensome financially. While our governor faces dipping into the Permanent Fund or cutting police services, teachers, health care and assistance to the elderly, it would behoove him to seek savings by broadening Alaska Statute 47.37.010 to provide humane assistance to those with marijuana addictions. 
Aaron M. ClemensJuneauStudent in Washington, D.C.Copyright: 2004 Southeastern Newspaper Corp.
Freedom To Exhale
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Comment #4 posted by Critto on January 23, 2004 at 14:16:04 PT
I hope the ruling stands
That means: that Alaskans' freedom to possess marijuana in their own houses will be preserved. If not, it would mean that Alaskan constitution can be thrown away to the dustbin. After all, if it wouldn't protect freedom to own the legitimately produced or purchased (ie. not stolen) in ONE'S OWN SANCTUARY, which one's house is, does it protect ANY freedom at all? Or, just gives some privileges the government and black robed folks (since when are they some better kind of humans?) deem appropriate? That's what happened to Canadian Charter of Rights; I love Canada, but I HATE what happened to freedom in that country, when the Supreme Court (eh, the black-robed thugs again:-> ) ruled Cannabis prohibition _does not violate any liberties_ because 'there is no free-standing right to get stoned'. Yee-hah. There isn't a free-standing right not to be shackled all day at the whipping post, or is it? I always though that it results from HUMAN LIBERTY alone. And besides, that someone _possesses_ ganja doesn't mean he (or she) wants to use or sell it; one may possess it just for the fun of possession; after all, why not? All in all, this ganja hasn't been stolen from anybody. So what's the problem? Is Canada a free country anymore, or just another dictatorship? Any chance to abolish the SC's ruling (eg. on the grounds that not all circumstances were taken into consideration; as, for example, the possession v. the usage). Last (but not least), I may be new on this forum, but I read for a long time. And I'm pleased with this website. I'm a 26-years old libertarian from Poland, who never smoked ganja (nor took any other narcotic drug) and doesn't plan to do so, but who stands for the rights of all individuals to do as they please as long as they don't harm anyone else. And I'm really angry with drug prohibition and its consequences for liberty. In Liberty,
Libertaryzm=libertarianism (Polish and English website)
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on January 23, 2004 at 08:57:56 PT
News Brief from The Anchorage Daily News
Backers of Legalized Marijuana Use Challenge State's Schedule for VotePublished: January 23, 2004Supporters of a petition to legalize marijuana filed suit Thursday challenging the state's schedule for bringing the issue to a vote.The vote is now set for Nov. 2 as part of the general election. The lawsuit says state law requires that it be on the Aug. 24 primary ballot.Attorney Ken Jacobus said petition supporters actually differ among themselves about which ballot the initiative should be on, but they all want to make sure the law is properly followed, he said.They want to avoid leaving the initiative vulnerable to legal challenge should it pass, Jacobus said.The difference of opinion on the correct election date stems from a difference of opinion on when the petition was officially filed with the state.It was actually filed on Nov. 14, 2002, the lawsuit says. But Lt. Gov. Loren Leman rejected it for technical errors later called trivial by the Superior Court. Leman then reconsidered the petition under court order and certified it in November 2003, noting that he considered it "properly" filed under court direction as of Nov. 13, 2003.Under state law, a legislative session must convene and be adjourned for at least 120 days after a petition is filed, before it can be voted on. A certified initiative goes on the first statewide ballot after that.The law was designed to give the Legislature a chance to enact the initiative itself, making a vote unnecessary. The original 2002 filing date would put the marijuana initiative on the August ballot. Leman's filing date puts it on the November ballot.There will not be the required 120 days between the end of the current legislative session and the August primary, said Robert Pearson, who handles initiatives for Leman's office. So November is the first statewide election ballot available.-- Anchorage Daily News
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Comment #2 posted by Max Flowers on January 21, 2004 at 11:59:53 PT
hey Kapt, check his bio
Gregg D. RenkesGregg D. Renkes was appointed Attorney General of Alaska by Governor Frank Murkowski and took office on December 9, 2002. He was confirmed in that position by the Alaska Legislature on March 4, 2003.General Gregg D. Renkes worked in Anchorage during law school and moved to Palmer to work for the Alaska Court System after graduation in 1986. He has been licensed to practice law in Alaska since 1987. Throughout his professional career, he has focused on Alaska energy, land, and Native law. General Renkes is a frequent speaker on energy and natural resources policy and at one time regularly contributed articles to the Tundra Times on legal issues affecting Alaska Natives. Most recently he served as president of The Renkes Group, Ltd., an energy project development and public policy consulting firm specializing in energy, environmental, and natural resource matters. In addition, General Renkes was invited to serve as Of Counsel to the law firm of Steptoe and Johnson, where he participated in the American Indian Law Practice Group.General Renkes served as the Majority Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources from 1995 to 1998. Before leading the committee staff, General Renkes worked as Chief of Staff and Chief Counsel to U.S. Senator Frank Murkowski (R-AK) and directed his Washington, D.C., and Alaska staff. During his nearly twelve years working in the U.S. Senate, General Renkes was responsible for major and diverse legislative efforts including the restructuring of the U.S. electric utility industry, the reformation of U.S. high-level nuclear waste policies, the 1992 Energy Policy Act, amendments to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the Joint Federal-State Alaska Native Commission, the Alaska Native Languages Preservation Act, oil and gas development on the Arctic Coastal Plain, national oil spill prevention legislation (OPA 90), the reform of management in the Tongass National Forest, U.S.-Japan and U.S.-China Nuclear Agreements, deep-water Gulf of Mexico oil and gas development, export of Alaska North Slope oil, reform of U.S. mining laws, and the reform of National Park policies. General Renkes also coordinated the 1992 and 1998 campaigns to re-elect Senator Frank Murkowski to his third and fourth terms in the U.S. Senate and the Murkowski 2002 Alaska gubernatorial campaign. General Renkes worked as staff to the 1996 Republican National Convention Platform Committee and drafted the section of the Republican Platform addressing energy and environment issues. More recently, he assisted the 2000 Republican National Convention Platform Committee on energy policy issues and was named to the Bush/Cheney Transition Advisory Committees for the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior.General Renkes holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder, Colorado; a Masters of Science degree from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; and a Bachelors of Arts degree from Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York. He is admitted to the Alaska Bar for the practice of law and served as a law clerk and magistrate for the State of Alaska Court System under the direction of Superior Court Judge Beverly Cutler in Palmer.Prior to moving to Alaska, General Renkes focused his studies on public land, natural resources, and American Indian Law. In law school, he clerked for Professor Charles Wilkenson, assisting in the rewrite of his casebooks on American Indian Law and Public Land Law; he clerked for the National Wildlife Federation; and he assisted the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation with its conference and publications activities. General Renkes also assisted the University of Colorado Natural Resources Law Center with several projects related to water law and the Endangered Species Act. In addition, he created and edited a legal publication at the University of Colorado School of Law titled “Mining Law Dialogue,” which was dedicated to providing a point-counterpoint forum for the debate of controversial legal questions impacting mining on public lands. At the Yale University graduate school, General Renkes spread his work across disciplines, including the School of Forestry, School of Law, and School of Organization and Management. His master’s thesis researched the biosocial impacts of endangered species habitat protection in the Florida Keys. As an undergraduate student, General Renkes split his concentration between biology and geology and had his research published in professional journals including the “Journal of Animal Behaviour” and the “Journal of Arachnology.”[end bio]What a waste of a fine education if after all that, this "man" cannot see an ethical problem with denying people the freedom to use a plant in the prvacy of their own homes. All those science classes wasted. He can write a thesis on habitat preservation but he can't take a couple of lousy hours to research the scores of studies demonstrating cannabis' medical usefulness and benign nature. All those research skills under his belt, and he turns a blind eye toward truth in order to oppress the same people in his state whom he is sworn to protect, all in order to lick the hands of his federal buddies like a good little lapdog.If this guy had any sense of what is right, he would stip this nonsense and devote every hour he wastes chasing harmless pot smokers to prosecuting real criminals like robbers, rapists, killers. Remember them, Gregg? They're still out there, busy while you've been looking elsewhere.
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on January 21, 2004 at 09:17:26 PT:
He likes the taste of his toes, methinks
*Renkes argued that the Supreme Court "should not continue to recognize a constitutional right to possess and ingest psychoactive drugs in the home." He also noted that the state constitution recognizes only those rights to privacy that society deems reasonable.*It would seem that someone has failed to educate Mr. Renkes in the fact that alcohol is a psychotropic drug. Is he proposing that all households in Alaska once again become 'dry', as in Prohibition 1's days?And this is being paid for with taxpayer monies? I'd think in his case, I'd want a refund...
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