Marijuana Fight Diverts Attention From Real Issues

Marijuana Fight Diverts Attention From Real Issues
Posted by CN Staff on May 04, 2006 at 07:36:29 PT
Alaska Editorial
Source: Juneau Empire
Alaska -- What should have been a simple bill to help control Alaska's methamphetamine epidemic has provoked a battle that is distracting lawmakers from more important business.On one side is the Alaska House, which passed a sensible meth-control bill. On the other side is the Alaska Senate, which hijacked the bill for its own purposes. Senate leaders used the bill to launch another attack on the privacy rights that allow Alaska adults to possess small amounts of marijuana in their own homes.
The House refused to go along with the controversial and expensive effort to recriminalize possession of any amount of marijuana by adults. A majority of the House wanted a bill to fight crystal meth, not take on a constitutional battle over marijuana possession.Unlike most other battles in the Capitol, this isn't a partisan fight. Both the House and Senate are firmly controlled by Republicans. Yet more than one in three House Republicans voted earlier this year to reject the Senate version of the bill.It's a fight about one chamber trying to make the other swallow a controversial drug law.Making matters worse is Gov. Frank Murkowski. Passing the marijuana anti-privacy bill is a big priority for him. So big that he's threatened to add it to the special session that's supposed to deal with the North Slope natural gas pipeline contract.That would be a big mistake. Adding marijuana to the special session won't mellow anyone out. It will unnecessarily agitate lawmakers and divert attention from the multibillion-dollar decisions they have to make about the gas line, the biggest development prospect in the state's history.Legislators and the governor need to focus on what's most important. When you're scrambling to finish a roof on your house and a storm is looming, you don't climb down the ladder and start spraying the lawn with weed killer. Mixing in marijuana with the gas line is a surefire way to make the special session go up in smoke.Gov. Murkowski and the Republican Senate want to crack down on Alaskans who roll their own. But in doing so, they're trying to roll the House. Whether House members are worried about Alaskans' personal privacy or their own legislative prerogatives, they have good reason to stand their ground.This editorial appeared in the Anchorage Daily News.Source: Juneau Empire (AK)Published: May 4, 2006 Copyright: 2006 Southeastern Newspaper CorpWebsite: letterstotheeditor juneauempire.comRelated Articles: House Rejects Drug Measure House Fails To Pass Marijuana-Meth Bill
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on May 04, 2006 at 21:28:28 PT
Related Article from The Associated Press
Governor Asks Lawmakers To Push Through Two "Must-Pass" Bills ***By Matt Volz, Associated Press Writer May 4, 2006JUNEAU, Alaska — Gov. Frank Murkowski is turning up the pressure on lawmakers to approve two of his priority bills before the regular session ends May 9. Murkowski held a news conference Thursday to call on the Legislature to pass his "must-pass" bills.The first would make it more difficult to buy the ingredients used to manufacture methamphetamine. During the legislative process, the Senate Finance Committee inserted into that bill another measure to increase the penalties for marijuana possession.The House last month rejected the measure, but representatives can take the matter up again by rescinding that vote.Murkowski encouraged them to do so in a news conference Thursday."I think now is the time to pass this bill," the governor said. "It's not about politics. It's about keeping our children safe."Murkowski said his second priority bill is one to give cash rewards to the best-performing teachers and school employees. The bill would require the state Department of Education to set up an incentive program to pay bonuses up to $5,500 for certified teachers and employees."We know why teachers leave the profession, we know why they get discouraged," said Education Commissioner Roger Sampson. "And one of them is they don't feel like they're recognized for their efforts."The Alaska Public Employees Association opposes the bill. The group says the language of the measure leaves too much discretion to school administrators, and staff and teachers may not receive the bonuses even if they meet the criteria.Rep. Berta Gardner, D-Anchorage, said the bill was disrespectful to dedicated teachers who do the best they can."To say that a little bit more money will make them do a better job is disparaging," Gardner said.The bill is sitting in the House Special Committee on Education.The governor did not rule out that he could add the two bills to a special session slated to begin May 10 if the Legislature does not pass them.Murkowski also asked the Legislature to restore $50 million back into the capital budget to study connecting Alaska and Canada by rail. The Senate Finance Committee removed that appropriation from the governor's budget proposal.———The bills are Senate Bills 235, 231 and House Bill 149.Copyright 2006 The Associated Press
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Comment #8 posted by mayan on May 04, 2006 at 17:35:58 PT
Who's Interest?
Making matters worse is Gov. Frank Murkowski. Passing the marijuana anti-privacy bill is a big priority for him. So big that he's threatened to add it to the special session that's supposed to deal with the North Slope natural gas pipeline contract.Just who is bribing Murkowski to make anti-cannabis legislation his #1 priority? The last thing the energy/oil companies want is a bunch of free thinking tokers questioning why the Alaskan wilderness is shrinking so fast! I also doubt if those companies want hemp bio-diesel refineries sprouting up all over.Cannabis is a threat to those who bake Murkowski's bread!
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Comment #7 posted by Toker00 on May 04, 2006 at 16:05:12 PT
Storm Crow.
I will read about Randy. I will write Randy. I'll tell him what a good friend he has speaking for him out here. Toke.
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Comment #6 posted by Toker00 on May 04, 2006 at 15:57:21 PT
I haven't heard from Jerry in answer to my last letter, but I basically told him not to worry about answering every letter, because he probably had a lot to answer. I'm sending Linda a small help, and a letter. Writing to these other people would be a good uplifting for their spirits. I may write all of them this weekend. Each one has a link to details about their cases.Toke.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on May 04, 2006 at 10:48:38 PT
I think that is good. I believe if we write to one POW that it helps so much. I haven't heard back from Jerry recently. I hope they are moving him back to his state soon. I wrote to his warden and told him I would pray that he makes a compassionate decision in Jerry's case since it was a victimless crime.
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Comment #4 posted by afterburner on May 04, 2006 at 10:05:51 PT
stand their ground
good one! courage. peace. excellent.
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Comment #3 posted by Storm Crow on May 04, 2006 at 09:37:24 PT
Adding another one!
Randy Brush #502945, Lorain Crooectional Institution, 2075 South Avon-Beldon Road, Grafton Ohio 44044. Randy is a disabled man who got 3 years for 4 plants. You can read about him at: Http:// In his last letter, Randy told me that just 4 people were writing to him. With the raw deal he got, he deserves more from the cannabis community. If Randy had lived in my state, his growing those 4 plants would have been legal. 
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Comment #2 posted by Toker00 on May 04, 2006 at 09:24:47 PT
Looks like ASA liked our idea!
National Action Alert:
Write to Medical Marijuana POWs!Several medical marijuana defendants are in jail awaiting trial. Please write to them and show your support! (To find out details about these POWs, visit
Dustin Robert CostaJail ID: T00229755
DOB: 10/11/46
Fresno County Jail
P.O. Box 872
Fresno, CA 93712
Joseph William ForttJail ID: T00229134
DOB: 11/14/62
Fresno County Jail
P.O. Box 872
Fresno, CA 93712
Louis Wayne FowlerX-71918 6E 3 20
c/o Sacramento County Jail
651 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
James Dale HollandJail ID: T00230818
DOB: 09/25/61
Fresno County Jail
P.O. Box 872
Fresno, CA 93712 Wage peace on war. END CANNABIS PROHIBITION NOW!
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on May 04, 2006 at 07:55:10 PT
Poll results- Juneau Empire
This link has a number of poll results from the above newspaper. There are several polls regarding marijuana policy....all of which score resounding pro-cannabis positions.
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