'Meth-ijuana' Bill To Change 

  'Meth-ijuana' Bill To Change 

Posted by CN Staff on April 05, 2006 at 08:16:04 PT
By Andrew Petty, Juneau Empire 
Source: Juneau Empire 

Alaska -- An Alaska Legislature conference committee this week will discuss changes to a bill that aims to curb home methamphetamine labs and make any possession of marijuana illegal.A meth-related provision in the recently passed USA Patriot Act will likely clear the road for the House, which insists drugstores should keep logs of purchasers, said House Majority Leader John Coghill, R-North Pole. The Senate is opposed to the log books.
Several members of the six-member conference committee, including Coghill, say they feel strongly that pot should be criminalized.But he said he expects amendments favoring some marijuana possession or removing all language referring to marijuana to make it a separate bill.The committee met briefly Tuesday to vote on the two versions, which were not accepted. To add amendments, the committee will seek limited free powers from its respective bodies this week.The House version unanimously passed last year contained ways to combat meth manufacturing but didn't mention anything about pot.The legislation became an omnibus drug bill after the Senate Finance Committee merged a separate piece of legislation criminalizing pot into the meth bill in January. The governor said the marijuana bill is a "must-pass" legislation.Several House representatives have cried foul over the Senate adding a significant portion of the bill that was never heard in House committee meetings."Originally the issue was the marijuana bill didn't seem to be moving through the House. They wanted to find a bill that everybody really wanted to pass," said Michael Macleod-Ball, executive director of American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska.Sen. Hollis French, D-Anchorage, will propose that the bill allow Alaskans to legally possess up to an ounce and criminalize any amounts above that limit.The Alaska Supreme Court, starting with a groundbreaking case in 1975, has ruled that a privacy clause in the Alaska Constitution allows state residents to possess marijuana in their homes. The current limit for possession is 4 ounces.The bill would make possession of 4 ounces or more a felony and less than 4 ounces a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.French, a former prosecutor, will push for an amendment to allow Alaskans to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana."The best legal result is to resolve in it a place where you can protect privacy and still allow prosecution of people who are growing commercial amounts," he said.Even if the law passes, French said the state's law enforcement officers don't have the time or resources to prosecute those with small amounts of pot. The Department of Law is dismissing two-thirds of all marijuana cases, he said.Coghill said he is not certain how the committee will vote on marijuana, but is confident that the log book requirement will be in the final version.The proposed state law comes pretty close to the federal mandate, he added."We'll reference a specific portion of that (federal) law," meaning if the federal changes, the state law will stay the same, Coghill said.Sen. Con Bunde, R-Anchorage, said he was opposed to the log books because the inconvenience on the drug stores may not be worth the trouble if the books are not effective; crooks can beat the system by purchasing their ingredients from a variety of stores.HB 149 also calls for drug stores to keep any drugs containing pseudoephedrine - a key ingredient in manufacturing meth - behind the counters and prohibits use of certain anabolic steroids. Note: Gov. says pot portion 'must pass' Source: Juneau Empire (AK)Author: Andrew Petty, Juneau EmpirePublished: April 5, 2006Copyright: 2006 Southeastern Newspaper CorpWebsite: letterstotheeditor juneauempire.comRelated Articles: Committee Takes Up Marijuana-Meth Bill The Pot Provisions In 'Methi-juana' Bill Seek To Test Pot Leniency in Court

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Comment #9 posted by ryno35 on April 06, 2006 at 17:06:45 PT
Seems like a big deal.
It's one thing if the Alaskan supreme court makes possesion of pot legal. It's a whole other thing if the legislature does. It's seems like it would be a really big deal and make big headlines if they had a law on the books legalizing the possesion of any amount of marijuana.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on April 05, 2006 at 18:54:20 PT
NORML Action Alert: Alaska
Stop Alaska from Increasing Marijuana Penalties Oppose HB 149 
 As NORML had previously informed you, the Alaska state legislature convened a conference committee in February to try to reach a consensus on the House and Senate versions of HB 149, which seeks to recriminalize the possession of less than four ounces of marijuana and make the possession of greater amounts a felony. Committee members are debating the measure this week, so it is vital that you contact them today and tell them to reject this unwarranted and counterproductive proposal.Alaska House members had previously rejected the Senate's anti-marijuana provisions to HB 149, a bill that primarily addresses the manufacturing of methamphetamine, calling it a cynical attempt by the Senate to try and recriminalize cannabis without engaging in any substantive legislative debate. This conference committee’s job is to decide whether or not to keep or eliminate these objectionable anti-marijuana provisions, so it is crucial that its members hear from you today.The committee has not yet taken action, but is expected before week’s end. Please contact the members of the conference today committee and urge them to remove the Senate's anti-marijuana provisions and maintain Alaska's longstanding freedoms. 
For 30 years, Alaska's sensible marijuana policies have served as an example for the rest of the nation. Let's not allow this cynical and unwarranted effort by the Senate and the Governor overturn them. Your efforts were successful in derailing similar legislation last year, and with your help today, we can emerge victorious once again. Contact information for the conference committee appears below. For your convenience, a pre-written letter urging the committee to oppose recriminalizing small amounts of marijuana is available at the conclusion of this alert.* Sen. Ralph Seekins (R) ­ 907-465-2327
* Con Bunde (R) 907-465-4843 
* Hollis French (D) 907-465-3892 
* Rep. John Coghill (R ­ Majority Leader) 907-465-3719
* Bill Stoltze (R) ­ 907-465-4958
* Harry Crawford 907-465-3438
Representative_Harry_Crawford legis.state.ak.usDear ____________, 
I am writing today to urge you and the members of this special conference committee to oppose provisions in House Bill 149 that seek to recriminalize the possession of marijuana for personal use in Alaska.
For 30 years, Alaska's sensible marijuana policies have served as an example for the rest of the nation, and there is no need to overturn them. These amendments to HB 149 are a misguided attempt to demonize marijuana by exaggerating its potential for harm to the user. They are not based on science, and should not be the basis for new law. Furthermore, these provisions have not been subject to sufficient debate within the legislature. As a result, the House voted to remove these objectionable provisions from HB 149. I urge you and this committee to do so as well.
The right to privacy in the state constitution reflects the importance Alaskans have always placed on individual freedom and protection from the overreaching power of the state. I urge you to remove these inappropriate provisions from HB 149 and protect our personal freedom.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on April 05, 2006 at 18:09:14 PT
I believe you are right. Can't have free thinkers in Alaska. They might just care about the caribou and polar bears and not think much about the oil. That's just not acceptable is it?
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Comment #6 posted by mayan on April 05, 2006 at 17:55:29 PT
The fascists don't want a bunch of cannabis inspired free-thinking individuals in Alaska because that could undermine the government's plans to turn the state into a giant oil refinery and military training ground. Governor Murkowski is nothing more than an oil industry puppet and will do what his twisted,megalomaniacal masters in D.C. tell him to do.
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Comment #5 posted by kaptinemo on April 05, 2006 at 15:36:50 PT:
Ever notice something 
about the source of the legislation? It's never mentioned.Think about it. Have you heard of any huge groundswell amongst the Alaskan population, ringing their Representative's phones off the hook, bashing down their doors, pounding on their desks, and screaming in their faces that they want...anti-cannabis legislation?No. You don't. If that was the case, the media would be reporting it. There'd be endless exposes, pontificating talking heads, 'experts' out the whazoo on the Tube, 'explaining' what should be readily evident, etc. But they aren't. IMHO, it appears that the legislators are doing little more than sitting around, with their heads resting on their hands, playing tiddly-winks, throwing spitballs at each other, putting a whoopee cushion on a chair of their colleague that has gone to the can, etc. , all bored out of their gourds, when suddenly one of them has a brain storm (or perhaps a seizure) and jumps up and shouts "We need to crminalize marijuana!" as if he's divined the core of the Unified Field Theory or something. The rest, being only slightly less clueless than the undiscovered Einstein who dreamed this up, go along with it.Of course, it's not that humorous. The reality is much uglier.So, who *is* behind this? Who is prompting all this farcical legislation? One guess, kiddies, and he wears star-spangled duds, an equally star-spangled hat, sports a white beard and and he's usually pointing at you in a threatening fashion, wanting you to do something for him. Yep, it's Uncle Samuel, at it again. And his right hand man, Fred the Fed. This is but ANOTHER Federally initiated encroachment upon the States, in violation of the spirit of 'federalism'. And if the Alaskan electorate doesn't make their hostility to this idiocy known, it WILL pass. Count on it.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 05, 2006 at 15:11:16 PT
News Article on Goose Creek
Raid Settlement Gets Initial OK:
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Comment #3 posted by Max Flowers on April 05, 2006 at 14:58:58 PT
Excellent news!
I remember this well, as I was so pissed about it at the time that I called up the school, got the principal McCrackin on the phone and called him a fascist and a drug-war criminal. I can still recall how genuinely surprised he seemed to be at being called such things, and how I was a bit surprised to see (hear) that he was surprised... surely, I thought, anyone who did something like what he did would be very aware of the anger it would cause and would be ready for repurcussions. But in our short exchange on the phone, he seemed totally blindsided by the backlash. That was the first time I had ever personally witnessed that level of denial in someone acting in the service of state/federal anti-drug hysteria. Glad to see he resigned and cost his school district and its insurance companies 1.6 million with his immensely idiotic move that terrorized innocent students, deprived them of their civil liberties, and probably psychologically scarred them for life.
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Comment #2 posted by billos on April 05, 2006 at 13:51:37 PT
..............goose creek..........
It's wonderful to finally see an instance where our "system" still works for the best.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 05, 2006 at 13:23:16 PT

MTV: Settlement from Drug Raid at Goose Creek
Settlement Reached In Suit Over 2003 High School Drug Raid*** 
April 5, 2006South Carolina students subjected to search at gunpoint could get up to $11,000 each.  When police stormed Stratford High School in Goose Creek, South Carolina, three years ago with guns drawn, they ordered students to lie on the floor as dogs sniffed them in a surprise drug sweep.Fifty-three students and their families joined 
in a class-action suit against Goose Creek police and the Berkeley County School District over the November 5, 2003, incident, claiming their constitutional rights were violated.On Tuesday, a federal judge gave preliminary approval to a settlement with the students and their families, according to Graham Boyd, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Law Reform Project. Boyd said the settlement could have an effect on students' rights across the country.The agreement sets up a $1.6 million fund. Based on lawyer's estimates, students who sued or required medical or psychological help after the raid will receive around $11,000 each. Other students who were in the hallway at the time of the raid will each get around $6,000, with final amounts contingent on how many students decide to take part in the settlement.Tapes show around 140 students in the hallway during the raid.Dr. Chester Floyd, Berkeley County School District superintendent, could not be reached for comment, but he told the Charleston, South Carolina Post and Courier he was happy with the resolution of the case. "It's time for this to go to bed and put it behind us," he said. U.S. District Judge Patrick Michael Duffy is expected to give final approval of the settlement as early as July.After images of the raid were spread across the world, Goose Creek officials changed their policies on drug searches, and the school's longtime principal, George McCrackin, resigned. According to the Post and Courier, most of the $1.6 million settlement — which includes $400,000 for the students' lawyers — will be paid by insurance companies, with Goose Creek paying $60,000 out of its own funds and the Berkeley County School District kicking in $50,000. Police found no drugs and made no arrests in the raid.The ACLU's Boyd said the settlement took so long because of the repeated back-and-forth between the city police and the school district over how to resolve the issue."Part of it was about money, and the other was about what kind of court order they'd be subject to in order to prevent this kind of thing from happening again," he said. Though money was an issue, the larger matter raised by the raid was a constitutional one, and Boyd predicted that the settlement and the conditions it imposes on the school district could have a larger effect on student privacy in schools around the country."In this case, the school principal had some sketchy information about a kid who was selling marijuana in the hallway of this school," Boyd said. "The information was that the kid was black, and the principal's response was to go to the city police and say, 'Let's do a police action on this thing.' The city police had just gotten trained on SWAT tactics for taking down a crack house, and so you had cops with bulletproof vests and guns hiding in stairwells and closets when students arrived at school."Boyd said the predominantly white school has a group of black students who are bused in and typically arrive at school earlier than their peers. So when the raid was conducted, the majority of the students who were confronted by cops were black.Though McCrackin did not see the student he suspected of selling drugs on the surveillance system the morning of the raid, Boyd said the principal approved the raid anyway. Students who were ambushed told MTV News at the time they feared for their lives as 14 officers pointed guns in their faces, forced them onto the ground and, in some cases, handcuffed them if they fidgeted or took their hands off their heads. Meanwhile, Boyd said, "white students began arriving, and some were disturbed and confused. It was like something out of another era."The ACLU became involved because of the Fourth Amendment, which guards against unreasonable search and seizure. "Whether the police or a school want to search or seize a person, it has to be done in a manner that's reasonable," Boyd said. "There was no reason to suspect any single person in that hallway, yet every single person in there was forced, with no choice, and seized by police in a completely unreasonable manner."In addition to the multimillion-dollar settlement, Boyd said the strict restrictions put on the Goose Creek police and the school district could send a signal to police and schools."Students have less rights. They can be drug tested and can be searched on reasonable suspicions," Boyd said. "Whereas with adults, you have to have a warrant signed by a judge or probable cause. The consent degree in this case will hold the police to a higher standard, which will help prevent them from overreaching again. The message it sends to everyone is that you need to be good at self-governance and don't overreach the bounds because you will be held accountable." — Gil KaufmanCopyright: 2006 MTV Networks
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