House Rejects Drug Measure 

House Rejects Drug Measure 
Posted by CN Staff on April 20, 2006 at 07:22:42 PT
By Anne Sutton, The Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Juneau, Alaska -- The Alaska House dealt a setback Wednesday to Gov. Frank Murkowski's efforts to recriminalize marijuana. Eight Republicans joined 13 Democrats to reject a compromise measure that linked what the governor called a "must-have" marijuana bill with a measure that restricts the sale of over-the-counter drugs used in making methamphetamine. The vote was 19-21.
House majority leader John Coghill, R-North Pole, described the vote as a "surprise."Coghill, who supported the measure, earlier said he was confident that lawmakers would embrace tougher measures dealing with methamphetamine, despite some opposition over the marijuana provisions."Obviously some other things happened. There was tension between the House and the Senate and I think that's where we ended up," he said.The Senate Finance Committee merged the two measures earlier this session; however, the House last month disagreed with the action. As a result, a conference committee was formed to etch out a compromise.The committee made only two significant changes to the bill: requiring a customer to sign a logbook before buying a medicine with an ephedrine base, such as Sudafed; and making it illegal to sell those ephedrine-based drugs to anybody under 16.House members voting to reject the measure said the compromise did not answer their concerns.While many expressed strong support for the methamphetamine provisions, they said the governor's attempt to recriminalize marijuana needed a thorough vetting in the House, something that was denied when the Senate combined the bills.The marijuana bill had only one hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.The drug bill contains a series of findings that Murkowski plans to use as a tool to overturn a 31-year-old Supreme Court ruling that makes it legal to possess small amounts of marijuana in the home.The court had ruled that Alaskan's right to privacy was far more important than any harm that could be caused by the drug.But according to findings inserted in the bill, marijuana is a more potent and dangerous drug than it was in the 1970s and poses a greater threat to young people.In a press statement issued after the House vote, Murkowski said he remained "steadfastly resolved" to seeing all of the measure's provisions pass."It is time to send our youths a different message. Marijuana use is not safe," he said.Murkowski's spokeswoman Becky Hultberg said the governor was still analyzing his next step for moving the measure forward.Advocates for marijuana reform say the bill's findings are bogus and marijuana's effects have not changed in the last three decades.Michael McKey, legislative analyst with the Washington D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, applauded the House vote and said the Senate has tried to circumvent the process."From the time we've begun, all we've asked for is a fair hearing. And I believe when we've been given that, we've done well," said McKey.The House rejection of the measure was even stronger before three lawmakers changed their votes from nay to yea.Rep. Tom Anderson, R-Anchorage, switched his vote, but said he still has concerns about dismantling the court ruling's right to privacy, as well as the lack of House scrutiny of the marijuana provisions and the appropriateness of the penalties.Although the administration has said it will use the law to go after major marijuana growers, Anderson is worried it could be used against small users instead.He believes most Alaskans, and most lawmakers, share his concerns."But remember, it's campaign season so there's a different view suddenly," Anderson said.The House vote leaves open several possibilities. A second conference committee could be appointed to work out the differences between the House and Senate, the House could decide to rescind its vote, the Senate could vote to pass the original methamphetamine bill back to the House, or the measure and all of its provisions could die.Some of the methamphetamine provisions are already contained in legislation being considered under reauthorization of the Patriot Act. The federal law would call for sales limits, logs and other record keeping similar to the requirements in Alaska's bill.The bill is House Bill 149. Note: 19-21 VOTE: Bill tough on marijuana, products used to make methamphetamine. Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Anne Sutton, The Associated Press Published: April 20, 2006 Copyright: 2006 Associated Press Related Articles:Alaska House Fails To Pass Marijuana-Meth Bill Bill Finished Goes Back To House Weigh Privacy in Marijuana Debate
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Comment #3 posted by Richard Zuckerman on April 20, 2006 at 11:00:23 PT:
Thanks for your thoughts, too! I am waiting for appellate oral argument. And waiting. And waiting. If you call (609) 292-4822, ask to speak with somebody who schedules the oral argument or Ed Costantini, Team 1 Case Manager, regarding Richard Paul Zuckerman, Plaintiff v. Borough of Highland Park, et al., Defendants, Docket number A-4461-04T1 (or is it A-4469-04T1??), I expect they would tell you what they have been telling me: The appeal was considered "ready" at the beginning of December 2005 and I must wait at least six months afterwards because they have 600 other cases awaiting scheduling of oral argument. My letter to the editor of The Home News Tribune,, was published on or around March 30, 2006, complaining that Hon. Joseph Vitale, Chairman, New Jersey State Senate Health Committee, has refused to post the medical Marijuana Bills S. 2200 and now S. 88 for a vote, even though Vice-Chair Ellen Karcher told me personally she has a relative with cancer, supports med pot, and will speak with Senator Vitale about posting the Bill for a vote. I suggest he has refused to post the med pot Bills for a vote BECAUSE HE HAS ACCEPTED $150,000 OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS FROM PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES!!!!!! Another of my letters to the editor was published by same newspaper about two weeks ago asserting the John Birch Society sent me an e-mail a year ago about the plan by the Council on Foreign Relations to eliminate our International Borders and that the illegal Mexicans might be part of their plan and that it might end our Federal and State Constitutions.I have 2 tickets to the MarijuanaloguesSee ya later!
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Comment #2 posted by Max Flowers on April 20, 2006 at 08:52:04 PT
Nice work, Richard
I'm not sure anyone ever thanks you for your work, but we should. Thanks, Mr. Zuckerman. Keep it up. What's up with your phone booth/civil liberties case? Did you win? Still ongoing?
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Comment #1 posted by Richard Zuckerman on April 20, 2006 at 07:50:12 PT:
This morning, I visited "Tent City", on Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, Campus, and dropped off the remainder of my posters for the Million Marijuana March, planned for May 6, 2006. Last week, I delivered some of the same posters to the Fraternities and Sororities, a block away, on the same College Avenue Campus. PLEASE VISIT WWW.CURES-NOT-WARS.ORG FOR THE MARCH NEAREST YOU, THEN TELL EVERY POSSIBLE PERSON ABOUT IT, AND CALL YOUR STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATORS ASKING FOR POT DECRIM.?;'t you people like to see the Alaska Governor's personal preferences for pot recriminalization OVERTURNED from an uprising like the illegal immigrants' demands for citizenship, drivers license, medical care, education??? I wish more Americans had the zest to march like these illegal aliens!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [Even though I would like to see illegal entry into this country made an indictable felony offense and every single transgresser forcibly ejected from this country, no matter how much the ACLU cares to mix legal immigrants with illegal immigrants and lie about their paying taxes and supporting this country!!!!!!!! But the cowardly, boot licking, Congress don't have the guts to go up against Bush!!! The recent Gang seminars by the Middlesex County, N.J., Prosecutor's Office, coupled with the U.S. Senate Bill to beef up funding police to crack down on Gangs would include Marijuana law enforcement, too!!].
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