Lawmakers Try To Toughen Alaska's Marijuana Laws 

  Lawmakers Try To Toughen Alaska's Marijuana Laws 

Posted by CN Staff on January 10, 2006 at 18:49:50 PT
By Anne Sutton, Associated Press Writer 
Source: Associated Press 

Juneau, Alaska -- Lawmakers for the second year are trying to toughen Alaska's marijuana laws, but critics say state government should leave the little guy alone and go after commercial growers. Alaska laws regarding marijuana use are among the loosest in the country. A 1975 Alaska Supreme Court decision made it legal for Alaskans to possess up to 4 ounces of marijuana for personal use in their homes.
Backed by Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski, the bill to recriminalize personal use of the drug stalled last year but was heard again Tuesday.The proposed bill would stiffen penalties for marijuana users. It would make possession of 4 ounces of pot or more a felony. Possession of less than 4 ounces would be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.Murkowski has asked state lawmakers to consider evidence of marijuana's dangers that should trump the courts' right to privacy rulings.Chief Assistant Attorney General Dean Guaneli testified that marijuana is more potent, and therefore more dangerous, now than three decades ago when the state Supreme Court ruled."This bill reflects what is currently known about marijuana," he said, "A lot has changed in the last 30 years."Guaneli said proposed fixes to the bill aim to blunt criticism that it would cost the state millions of dollars in jail time and unfairly target recreational marijuana users. One amendment would impose fines for possession of less than one ounce in the first two offenses. Jail time could only be considered only on a third offense.The changes did not satisfy critics who said the state's interest in curbing small marijuana users is not compelling enough to take away an individual's privacy rights.Michael Macleod-Ball, executive director of the Alaska Civil Liberties Union, said the bill fails to get at the root of the problem."In fact there is no increase (in the bill) in penalties for those with more than a pound available," he said, "Those are the commercial growers and those are the ones you should be looking at."Macleod-Ball urged the committee to hear testimony from expert witnesses who challenged the state's claims about the dangers of marijuana in hearings last year. He complained that the public was not given enough time to prepare for the Tuesday hearing.But Committee co-chairwoman Lyda Green, R-Wasilla, said she has closed public testimony, adding that information from last year's hearings was available to finance committee members. Green said she expects the bill to move out of committee on Thursday for later floor debate and a vote.The state's marijuana laws have been shaped by 30 years of court decisions and voter referendums.After the 1975 state Supreme Court decision, a successful voter initiative in 1990 criminalized all amounts of pot.Then in 2003, the Alaska Court of Appeals reversed that in the case of North Pole resident David Noy. The court said privacy rights guaranteed in the Alaska Constitution can't be taken away by voters or legislators.The Supreme Court declined the state's request in September 2004 to reconsider the Noy case, setting the legal possession limit at 4 ounces of marijuana.And in November 2004, a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana and possibly tax it similar to alcohol and cigarettes failed to pass with 44 percent of the vote.The committee also considered a bill to limit the sale of over-the-counter drugs that are used in the manufacture of the drug methamphetamine, a powerful illegal stimulant made from household products.It would limit the sale of Sudafed to 6 grams a month per person. It also would ban the sale of the decongestant to children under 18 years of age and require the products be secured behind the counter. Guaneli said the administration has been working on the bill with storeowners who are worried about its impact on their business.The bills are Senate Bill 74 and 70. Newshawk: Mayan Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Anne Sutton, Associated Press Writer Published: January 10, 2006Copyright: 2006 The Associated Press Related Articles:Governor Set To Push Anti-Marijuana Legislation Measure Would Test Court Rulings Moves To Change Pot Law 

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Comment #12 posted by FoM on January 12, 2006 at 16:45:00 PT

Important Alaska AP Article!
Marijuana and Meth Bill Heads To The Floor***Associated Press  January 12, 2006
According to the Associated Press, bills that aim to curb the use of marijuana, methamphetamine and anabolic steroids have been rolled into one. The omnibus measure moved out of the Senate Finance Committee today and is headed for the floor. House Bill 149 would make possession of four ounces or more of pot a felony. It also limits the sale of a popular decongestant, Sudafed, which is used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. State officials say recriminalizing marijuana will help state troopers crack down on commercial growers by making it easier obtain search warrants. Lawmakers also heard testimony from experts on the drug who say concerns about marijuana are overblown.
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Comment #11 posted by OverwhelmSam on January 11, 2006 at 16:48:01 PT

Again with the Marijuana is More DANGEROUS
If it's so dangerous, where are the sick and dying marijuana users? How come the hospital and morgue walls are not lined with marijuana users? Even with alcohol, people who abuse it throw up and drown in their own vomit, have fatal collisions across the nation and get into fights with whoever happens to be around. The effects of alcohol are readily observable.With herion people are found with the needle still stuck in their arm. With meth people so neglect their health that they go for days without eating and sleeping and it's dangerous right on it's face.So how can they say that marijuana is DANGEROUS because it's stronger. Stronger that What? Oxycontin? Vioxx? What is it so much stronger than that makes it dangerous?I'm waiting? 
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Comment #10 posted by cloud7 on January 11, 2006 at 13:08:26 PT

RE: from post 6
"“That is going to allow the troopers to turn back to clock to where we were a couple of years ago, to allow them to get search warrants, to stop the commercial marijuana growing,” said Dean Guaneli, Department of Law."What a lie. They don't care whether the growing is for personal, medical, or commercial use. A $250,000 dollar house stolen from a personal grower is the exact same as a $250,000 house stolen from a commercial grower. They've got their eyes on the prizes and their motivation is to fill their coffers. It wouldn't take anyone more than a few weeks on a drug task force to realize that busting a grow operation has zero effect on anything other than an extremely short and minimal dent in a local supply. They can say whatever they want, but they don't like the fact that without a steady stream of revenue from whatever goods they can get their hands on it makes it difficult to maintain the police state they want so bad. Also,
"Possession of less than 4 ounces would be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail."A YEAR! in jail for merely possessing a dried plant. What kind of sick people are they? Oh, but they're really only interested in commercial operations. Well, why not screw the people at the bottom while they're at it.Alaskan voters need to throw every one of the fools behind this out of office regardless of their views on cannabis. These political hacks are doing everything they can to subvert the state constitution they agreed to abide by and the people chose to live under.

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Comment #9 posted by ekim on January 11, 2006 at 11:30:47 PT

Protecting Special Interests
Protecting Special Interests As the AMA's Dr. Woodward had asserted, the government's testimony before Congress in 1937 had in fact consisted almost entirely of Hearst's and other sensational and racist newspaper articles read aloud by Harry J. Anslinger,* director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN). (This agency has since evolved into the Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA]). *Harry J. Anslinger was director of the new Federal Bureau of Narcotics from its inception in 1931 for the next 31 years, and was only forced into retirement in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy after Anslinger tried to censor the publications and publishers of Professor Alfred Lindsmith (The Addict and the Law, Washington Post, 1961) and to blackmail and harass his employer, Indiana University. Anslinger had come under attack for racist remarks as early as 1934 by a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, Joseph Guffey, for such things as referring to "ginger-colored niggers" in letters circulated to his department heads on FBN stationery. Prior to 1931, Anslinger was Assistant U.S. Commissioner for Prohibition. Anslinger, remember, was hand-picked to head the new Federal Bureau of Narcotics by his uncle-in-law, Andrew Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury under President Herbert Hoover. The same Andrew Mellon was also the owner and largest stockholder of the sixth largest bank (in 1937) in the United States, the Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh, one of only two bankers for DuPont* from 1928 to the present. * DuPont has borrowed money from banks only twice in its entire 190-year history, once to buy control of General Motors in the 1920s. Its banking business is the prestigious plum of the financial world. In 1937, Anslinger testified before Congress saying, "Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."This, along with Anslinger's outrageous racist statements and beliefs, was made to the southern dominated congressional committee and is now an embarrassment to read in its entirety. For instance, Anslinger kept a "Gore File," culled almost entirely from Hearst and other sensational tabloids - e.g., stories of axe murders, where one of the participants reportedly smoked a joint four days before committing the crime. Anslinger pushed on Congress as a factual statement that about 50% of all violent crimes committed in the U.S. were committed by Spaniards, Mexican-Americans, Latin Americans, Filipinos, African-Americans and Greeks, and these crimes could be traced directly to marijuana. (From Anslinger's own records given to Pennsylvania State University, ref.; Li Cata Murders, etc.) Not one of Anslinger's marijuana "Gore Files" of the 1930s is believed to be true by scholars who have painstakingly checked the facts.4
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Comment #8 posted by runderwo on January 11, 2006 at 10:52:37 PT

Apparently Murkowski sees cannabis as more of a problem than huffing, since for huffing he simply calls for education on the matter, whereas on cannabis he calls for incarceration. Unbelievable?
The Big Issue
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Comment #7 posted by runderwo on January 11, 2006 at 10:49:39 PT

"Green held an unannounced hearing on the bill today and said she would not delay the schedule to allow for testimony by scientific experts who spoke before other committees last session."Who cares about the voice of reason. We have an emergency on our hands, an epidemic of reefer zombies! Oh wait, this is about commercial growers. But how does criminalizing possession of less than 4 ounces affect commercial growers? To me it sounds more like an excuse for caging users under the pretense of being tough-on-crime...
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on January 11, 2006 at 07:38:39 PT

Green Wants To Re-Criminalize Marijuana Possession
By Bill McAllister Tuesday, January 10, 2006 Juneau, Alaska - A bill to re-criminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana at home will pass out of the Senate Finance Committee Thursday, according to co-chair Lyda Green. 
 Green held an unannounced hearing on the bill today and said she would not delay the schedule to allow for testimony by scientific experts who spoke before other committees last session. The Murkowski administration, which asked for the bill, contends that the potency of marijuana has increased so much since a key court ruling in 1975 that judges today would permit such legislation, even though it appears to violate recent rulings on the constitutional right to privacy. “That is going to allow the troopers to turn back to clock to where we were a couple of years ago, to allow them to get search warrants, to stop the commercial marijuana growing,” said Dean Guaneli, Department of Law. “Last year Senate finance got their knuckles wrapped by legislative ethics committee for bringing up bills under the rubric of ‘bills previously heard.’ It locks Alaskans out of the process. There wasn’t an Alaskan outside this building that knew,” said Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau. The House of Representatives has not yet acted on the marijuana bill.
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Comment #5 posted by potpal on January 11, 2006 at 06:21:43 PT

Closer to the gods
Herbis maxamis acts as a mental floss cleaning away truth decay. It is a Mind Shine(c) product produced by nature for our edification and enjoyment. Like that.Who would deprive Alaskans of the pleasure of a quiet pipe of cannabis by the fire after a hard days work now that they have just that. Especially in Alaska with the bitter conditions and short winter days (a poke or two on a blazing summer night would do just fine too). Cannabis is called for. When you're up in gods country, its only natural to want to get closer. Don't change the law, change the law makers. 
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Comment #4 posted by WolfgangWylde on January 11, 2006 at 03:21:11 PT

This Bill does not matter....
....since a simple law CANNNOT amend the State Constitution. In order to criminalize possession of marijuana, a Constitutional amendment must be passed that revises the Alaskan right to privacy to specifically exclude marijuana. Somehow, this has escaped every "journalist" who has written on this topic.
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on January 10, 2006 at 21:29:14 PT:

More bad stuff Re: consuming the herb.
The ONDCP has also found teenagers who imbibe the herbis maximas will find the bogey will not come to dwell underneath their beds. Stars may appear much closer than they really are. Misrepresented social issues ment to contain and mislead us will appear silly and frivolous. Herbis maxamis acts as a mental floss cleanning away truth decay. It is a Mind Shine product produced by nature for our edification and enjoyment. 
As a foot note to this report. It author was taken out behind the Lincoln Monument and shot by a group of DEAs.p.s. I know this story is true because I made it up.RR 

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Comment #2 posted by FoM on January 10, 2006 at 20:16:53 PT

I know about this one from when I lived in PA. That's scary stuff.Indiantown Gap Military Reservation - located north of Harrisburg. Used for WWII POW camp and renovated by Jimmy Carter. Was used to hold Cubans during Mariel boat lift. 
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Comment #1 posted by goneposthole on January 10, 2006 at 20:08:43 PT

Now, why would they want to do that?
I axed meself. So, I's does a search. The search is: "Unicor in Alaska prison system."Here is one result: is the search result from Google: thinks that may be the answer for the reason why Alaska wants to re-criminalize 'marijuana' in Alaska.Those American politicians and government officials just can't let loose of modern day slavery. It is in them to the core... the Unicor.
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