cannabisnews.com: Alaska Supreme Court Takes Up Marijuana Issue





Alaska Supreme Court Takes Up Marijuana Issue
Posted by CN Staff on March 21, 2008 at 05:57:27 PT
By The Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Juneau, Alaska -- An effort to recriminalize marijuana is in the hands of the Alaska Supreme Court after the high court heard oral arguments Thursday.The latest round in a decades-old battle over the drug revolves around a 2-year-old state law that would make illegal the personal at-home use of small amounts of marijuana in Alaska.
A lower court struck down part of the law two years ago saying it conflicts with past Supreme Court decisions. The state Department of Law appealed the case.This week special assistant attorney general Dean Guaneli reprised his argument that the new law contains findings by the Legislature on the dangers of marijuana that were not considered by the court in the past."It's a different kind of drug, it's a different era and the Legislature considered all that and reached its decision," said Guaneli after the hearing.The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska challenged the law on the grounds that the state constitution and its privacy provisions protect adults who use marijuana in their homes.Attorneys said the state has failed to prove that public health has suffered in Alaska a result of the court's 1975 landmark decision, known as Ravin v. State. "The effect of Ravin has been that privacy rights are respected. Nothing relevant has changed since 1975," said ACLU staff attorney Adam Wolf.The state law at issue was approved by the 2006 Alaska Legislature, spurred on by then-Gov. Frank Murkowski. The idea was to trigger a constitutional challenge and ultimately overturn the Ravin decision.In gearing up for a court fight, Murkowski and the Legislature included in the bill a set of findings meant to prove that marijuana has increased in potency since the original Supreme court decision, and therefore had become more dangerous.When the law took effect that June, the ACLU sued the state and Juneau Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins struck it down one month later, saying the new law conflicted with past constitutional decisions of the Supreme Court. Collins limited her decision to possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana, even though the state law increases penalties for possession of more than that amount.The Alaska Constitution has a special guarantee of privacy from government interference. And the Ravin decision said that right-to-privacy outweighs any social harm that might be caused by the personal at-home use of small amounts of marijuana. While the decision was not absolute, the court said the state would have to clear a very high hurdle to justify interfering with that right to privacy.The state is using the legislative findings to argue that time has come.Guaneli said that marijuana's psychoactive ingredient, known as THC, is far more potent than before, that pregnant women in Alaska use marijuana at a higher rate than the national average and that 10 percent of users become psychologically dependent on the drug.He said he wanted to dispel the notion that the use of marijuana is OK "if all you do is step over the threshold of your home before you light up."The ACLU, however, argued that the court should not bow to politically motivated findings that were tailor-made for the case.Wolf said the independence of the judiciary was at stake and the court "needs to look with extreme skepticism at the legislature's findings" before it considered overturning decades of precedence protecting Alaskan's right to privacy.The ACLU is joined by two individual plaintiffs. A 54-year-old woman referred to as Jane Doe uses marijuana to treat pain caused by a neurological illness, according to the ACLU.She and another plaintiff, a 42-year-old woman referred to as Jane Roe, won't list their real names because they fear prosecution under the new law.The court is expected to rule on the case within a year. The justices could remand the case back to the lower court for trial.Complete Title: Alaska Supreme Court Takes Up Marijuana Issue AgainSource: Associated Press (Wire)Published: March 20, 2008Copyright: 2008 The Associated Press CannabisNews -- Cannabis Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml
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Comment #24 posted by John Tyler on March 22, 2008 at 08:44:12 PT
a little history
From the time the colonist landed at Jamestown Va. in 1607, and for the next 330 years, cannabis had been part of American culture. It was grow for its food, fuel, fabric and medicinal value. In 1619 the Virginia colonial legislature even required that all farms grow cannabis! Cannabis was used to make rope, and sails for ships, paper that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written on, the clothes people wore, and the covers on the covered wagons that the pioneers used. Itís a historical fact that both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew and used cannabis. It was a major agricultural commodity well into the 20th century. It was used in numerous medical preparations manufactured by many well-known pharmaceutical companies. The people were free to use it however they saw fit. There was no problem with it. It was a wonderful useful plant that helped our country become a world power. So what happened in 1937? Did cannabis change into the feared marijuana overnight, or did a small group of greedy wealthy industrialists in cahoots with rabid racists besmirch this good plant for their own narrow purposes?  It seems like everything has unintended consequences. The racists and industrialist got their way in 1937 with their lies and intimidation. The rest of the country has been paying a huge price for this injustice ever since.    
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on March 22, 2008 at 06:51:45 PT
Off Topic: A Nice Song I Posted Before
This is a good Easter type song to me. I hope everyone is having a nice holiday. Tower of Song - Cohen Tribute with U2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdbpamsaAY8
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Comment #22 posted by FoM on March 22, 2008 at 05:22:20 PT
Sinsemilla Jones
Thank you for the link. I haven't heard any of the news people on tv mention about the drug issue the Pastor mentioned. That was true what he said. If I was ever in the Chicago area I would enjoy going to a Church with such a powerful social theme instead of an evangelical church that is scaring everyone. ( I was an evangelical so I speak from experience ) 
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Comment #21 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on March 22, 2008 at 02:23:38 PT
I like Richardson's new beard!
Richardson, of course, worked in the Clinton administration.And guess who was once a guest of the Clinton White House?Rev. Jeremiah Wright!Here's a pic of the Rev. shaking hands with Bill Clinton at the White House prayer session Wright was invited to for the purpose of saving Bill's lying, adulterous ass -http://tinyurl.com/2vo7fx
The Truth About Trinity United Church of Christ
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on March 21, 2008 at 20:04:20 PT
fight_4_freedom
I watched Governor Richardson endorse Senator Obama and I was so happy I could have shouted Amen or something close to that.
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on March 21, 2008 at 19:50:45 PT
runruff
I have followed this campaign from morning until night for a longtime now. The other night Stick and I were talking about if Clinton wins what we would do. We were calm and came to the conclusion that if she wins the nomination we won't vote. I know that isn't a good way to think but any hope I had would be gone and that would be that. I didn't care about politics after RK was killed because there was no hope but this time and at our age it would be over for us. It's Obama or nothing.
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Comment #18 posted by runruff on March 21, 2008 at 19:41:03 PT:
Hillary [Bought'em] Sin'ton
She is practicing a scorched earth campaign.This means she intends to either win or leave her party in shambles.For her it will be her or nothing at all.I bite my tongue!
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Comment #17 posted by fight_4_freedom on March 21, 2008 at 19:04:47 PT:
This is nice to see.
PORTLAND, Ore., March 21 -- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson offered a strong endorsement of Barack Obama for president Friday, appealing for peace in the Democratic Party and hailing the Illinois senator as a unifying force for the country."Your candidacy is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our country, and you are a once-in-a-lifetime leader," said Richardson, the nation's only Hispanic governor, before a cheering crowd of about 12,000 in Portland's Memorial Coliseum. "You will make every American proud to be an American." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/21/AR2008032102957.html?hpid=topnewscomplete article
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on March 21, 2008 at 15:42:04 PT
greenmed
I have enough trouble with two. Most people I know only think of the two Parties. I think to have different groups within the Parties would be helpful. 
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Comment #15 posted by greenmed on March 21, 2008 at 14:57:35 PT
FoM
Something is definitely broken in the system when 80% of the People support cannabis law reform, yet the Hinchey amendment last year did not muster the votes needed to pass.http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll733.xmlMaybe we need more political parties.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on March 21, 2008 at 13:52:34 PT
This Ad is Good
The young people are our future. Hillary's "3 A.M. Ad" Girl Doesn't Approve of That Message http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXmYVRIpu2w
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on March 21, 2008 at 13:42:47 PT
greenmed 
Thank you. I spend a lot of my time separating the sheep from the goats and your link will help me. I am a registered Independent but lean towards the Dems. Dems and Repubs should be totally different from each other or why bother to have two main Parties?
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Comment #12 posted by greenmed on March 21, 2008 at 13:33:24 PT
endorsements
Here's a site I stumbled upon:http://demconwatch.blogspot.com/It offers lists of Superdelegates who have endorsed:http://demconwatch.blogspot.com/2008/01/superdelegate-list.htmland a list of those who haven't (yet):http://demconwatch.blogspot.com/2008/01/superdelegates-who-havent-endorsed.html(The lists are accessible from the main page.)It's new to me. I hope other C-Newsers will find it interesting and informative too.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on March 21, 2008 at 13:23:50 PT
I Agree With This
Civil LibertariansExcerpt: Civil libertarians also often support the Democratic Party because Democratic positions on such issues as civil rights and separation of church and state are more closely aligned to their own than the positions of the Republican Party, and because the Democratic economic agenda may be more appealing to them than that of the Libertarian Party. They oppose gun control, the "War on Drugs," protectionism, corporate welfare, governmental borrowing, and an interventionist foreign policy. The Democratic Freedom Caucus is an organized group of this faction.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Party_(United_States)#Progressives
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on March 21, 2008 at 13:12:07 PT
runruff
She reminds me of a woman that has so much pent up anger and is so self absorbed that McCain seems better. That says a lot for me.
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Comment #9 posted by runruff on March 21, 2008 at 13:05:57 PT:
Clinton
If she is anything like her [faux] husband she will make thing worse, not better. The Clintons owe their soul.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on March 21, 2008 at 13:04:37 PT
Sam
Here it is.http://www.hillaryclinton.com/news/release/view/?id=4366
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Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on March 21, 2008 at 12:52:43 PT
endorsement?
FOM How'd you find out who he endorsed? Apparently his district is where all the politically-connected unions are based, maybe he's trying to serve his friends in the police unions? If so somebody better coach him on his rhetoric, he's shooting himself in the foot every time his mouth opens.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on March 21, 2008 at 12:38:10 PT
Sam
I checked and he endorsed Clinton. She won't change anything.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 21, 2008 at 12:36:32 PT
Sam
It's time to separate the real liberal Dems from the Dems that really are more central which means to me they are more like a Republican. 
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on March 21, 2008 at 12:19:40 PT
Massachusetts hearing
just found this...a state rep testifying against MJ decrim in Mass., possibly one of the weakest prohibitionist performances ever......apparently he wants to ban alcohol and ignore the 57% of his district that voted for decrim, among other things:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkTtbuXNgrw
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on March 21, 2008 at 09:59:03 PT:
Murkey the Turkey.
That's what I call this guy former govenor Murkowski because that is what he is. I followed his campaign to recriminalize herb two years ago. He was not having any luck so he bundled up a bill with meth and and called it the meth/marijuana bill. Last I heard it passed. I was having a hard time following the situation after that because I was in prison 3,000 miles away and my info was limited. Before I came home my wife sent me a newspaper clipping that said he had not been re-elected governor, in fact he only came in third in the primaries. I laughed out loud about that. Not only did Alaska not want him back but they didn't even want him running again. I think it is because in Alaska the people don't like it when you shove laws down their throats as he did. I believe he did what others in the past have done. He bent over for the feds. They probably tell him something like Rebubs are getting unpopular more and more these days. Work with us on this and we'll see to it that you get re-elected.Good-bye Murdkey the Turkey. In Alaska they are tired of fed interfearence.
If only the rest of the country were like Alaskans.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 21, 2008 at 08:42:09 PT
Lewis Black: Root of All Evil: Pot vs. Alcohol
This new show on Comedy Central will be about Marijuana and Alcohol this coming Wednesday. It's been a very good show so far. That's all for now.http://www.comedycentral.com/shows/root_of_all_evil/index.jhtml
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 21, 2008 at 08:21:08 PT
Just a Note
I hope that everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend. I really love this time of year. Enjoy!
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