Judge To Rule Monday On New Marijuana Law 

Judge To Rule Monday On New Marijuana Law 
Posted by CN Staff on July 06, 2006 at 08:15:51 PT
By Andrew Petty, Juneau Empire
Source: Juneau Empire 
Alaska -- A Juneau Superior Court judge will reach a decision on Monday about the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska's request to toss out a new law that toughens state penalties on marijuana possession. Judge Patricia Collins heard arguments on Wednesday from the ACLU and the state.The bill that was signed into law this year includes findings that the state plans to use to convince the courts that marijuana is more harmful today than it was in 1975. That was the year that the state Supreme Court, in a case known as Ravin vs. State, ruled that residents can keep small amounts in their homes. The Alaska Legislature later set the amount at 4 ounces.
The new law also states that those possessing more than 4 ounces would be charged with a Class C felony; those with an ounce would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor; and those with less than an ounce would be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.The ACLU and a handful of anonymous plaintiffs claim the law ignores the Alaska Constitution's provision granting a right to privacy. Adults using marijuana in their homes, for medicinal or recreational purposes, now face the prospect of surveillance, searches and criminal sanctions, the group says."As the judge said, it's a complex issue," said Dean Guaneli, assistant attorney general for the state, pointing to two boxes of binders in front of him.The ACLU maintains this case is a question of constitutional law and it should be matched up against previous Supreme Court rulings that have allowed Alaskans to continue possessing marijuana. The state wants the court to look at new evidence the Legislature assembled during committee hearings on the dangers of the drug.The plaintiff and the defense said the judge's ruling on Monday could come in a variety of forms, and this case could be far from over."She can rule as a matter of law that Ravin controls and this court does not have the authority to overrule the Supreme Court and therefore she should rule in our favor on summary judgment," said Jason Brandeis, staff attorney for the ACLU.If that is the case, the state can choose to appeal to the Supreme Court, he added."But if she decides that she does not want to rule in our favor as a matter of law and she feels that this court can hold an evidentiary hearing to look at the facts that are at issue, we would certainly look forward to that," Brandeis said.Guaneli used the case as an opportunity to report that marijuana use among pregnant women and teenage girls in Alaska was higher than averages seen nationally. The law, signed on June 3, includes dozens of statistics similar to this one."The judge has to look at the findings to make a decision," he said.If Collins decides she needs to look at more evidence, Brandeis said it would give the ACLU the opportunity to have an "impartial" expert review the facts.The judge also could rule in the state's favor and dismiss the case, leaving the ACLU with the option to appeal, Guaneli said.Bill Parker, a member of the advocacy group Alaskans for Marijuana Regulation and Control, said this case is another round in the war on marijuana that's been going on for more than 30 years."We've had very good luck with the courts and I bet we will again," he said.Note: State wants court to look at new evidence.Source: Juneau Empire (AK)Author: Andrew Petty, Juneau EmpirePublished: July 6, 2006 Copyright: 2006 Southeastern Newspaper CorpWebsite: letterstotheeditor juneauempire.comRelated Articles & Web Site:ACLU Hears Arguments Over New State MJ Law Sues Alaska Over State's New MJ Law Target Regular Alaskans
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #3 posted by Toker00 on July 06, 2006 at 09:36:59 PT
Sorry, but being a Norml person,
I had to post this. Good day!From NORML.ORG:Vote for NORML's Podcast on PodcastAlley!July 5, 2006Hello NORML Supporters!Just a reminder that it is the top of the month ... time to get some PodcastAlley votes again! Your vote can place NORML's podcast at or near the top of the PodcastAlley's rankings!Getting top-ranked by voting on PodcastAlley increases our podcasts' visibility on hundreds of directories, etc.PLEASE vote with every email address you have for all three NORML podcasts every month and encourage everyone you know to do so as well:Audio Stash Vote link News Vote Link Events vote link only one month of daily podcasts, NORML's Internet broadcasts and podcast downloads are now a major way cannabis consumers and stakeholders in changing marijuana laws receive their up-to-date information on all things relating to cannabis.Voting for NORML's podcasts at is a great and free way that you can help promote NORML - and its 36-year old message that the responsible use of marijuana by adults should not be a crime.Thanks in advance for your help and consideration.Cannabem liberemus,-Allen St. Pierre
Executive Director
NORML/NORML Foundation
Washington, DC
NORML and the NORML Foundation: 1600 K Street NW, Suite 501, Washington DC, 20006-2832
Tel: (202) 483-5500 • Fax: (202) 483-0057 • Email: norml
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by afterburner on July 06, 2006 at 08:55:34 PT
Harmless: prohibitionist word. Safer: reform word.
"The truth is that marijuana is far from harmless. Marijuana is addictive." --Don't Underestimate The Danger of Marijuana Use. 
Posted by CN Staff on May 26, 2005.
By Larissa Lytwyn, 
Easton Courier prohibitionist, Larissa, uses the strawman argument about the so-called harmlessness of cannabis. Don't get drawn into her game. Nothing is harmless. Why should cannabis be held to such an impossible standard? Cannabis is less "addictive", if at all, than coffee. Why is coffee not illegal?runderwo #25 Correct: about cannabinoids attaching to cannabinoid receptors and only indirectly affecting dopamine. Correct: about heroin and cocaine directly affecting dopamine production. Omitted: heroin attaches to *opioid* receptors.runderwo #40 RE O'Reilly's "debate traps": {I watched the O'Reilly show. It occurred to me that, like the list of drug warrior propaganda that observer frequently refers to, there are also several common tactics used to steer a debate away from the subject of legalizing cannabis for adult use and onto irrelevant issues and points, in an attempt to mire the legalization proponent in unfamiliar territory and maybe lead him into a damning statement, or to simply promote false associations and stereotypes about cannabis and cannabis users. ...- I can't believe you think marijuana is HARMLESS! Why, look at this innocent young girl who tried marijuana and ended up dropping out of school... Bonus points if it is the child of the speaker and the delivery is exceptionally emotional. Of course, nobody thinks cannabis is harmless to everyone. For many individuals it is harmless, and for others it is not harmless. Whether continuing to use cannabis is rational or not is up to the user to decide. When referring to cannabis policy, "harmless" is used in conjunction with "relatively", as in "relatively harmless" compared to all other illegal drugs or to currently legal medical and recreational intoxicants. This is a horrible hairline distinction to have to make in front of a hostile audience.}See how the media prohibitionists generate emotional blindness and deafness to cannabis reform by harping on this "harmless" propaganda and using grieving or distraught parents to sway the audience against us. Harmless is a prohibitionist word. Safer is a reformer word. BTW, safe is absolute, like harmless. Safer is not the same as safe.see link for other "debate traps" example:{"SAMHSA spokesperson Leah Young said the study does not point to why increased use is occurring, instead the study suggests marijuana is not a benign substance.“[The study] does tell us that people are winding up in treatment in greater numbers,” Young said. “This is a cause for alarm because there [are] people [who] think marijuana is harmless.”According to National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) senior policy analyst Paul Armentano, the federal government and NORML both agree the increased number of teens sent to drug treatment in the past years influenced the increase in marijuana admissions as concluded in the SAMHSA survey.“Up until this last report [the federal government] made all this very clear,” Armentano said. “For the first time in [SAMHSA’s] history there was not a breakdown of how people got there [into treatment].”Armentano added few people voluntarily check themselves into treatment and for every 100 people using marijuana approximately nine show signs of dependence.But according to SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie, marijuana is not a harmless substance.}
--Marijuana Treatment Swells. 
Posted by CN Staff on March 15, 2005
By Sundeep Malladi, 
Badger Herald's not cannabis law reformers, like National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) senior policy analyst Paul Armentano who are saying "marijuana [cannabis] is harmless." It is Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) prohibitionists who harp on this strawman argument "marijuana is harmless," in order to justify their treatment statistics. Another US example:{After years of giggling at quaintly outdated marijuana scare stories like the 1936 movie "Reefer Madness," we've become almost conditioned to think that any warnings about the true dangers of marijuana are overblown. But marijuana is far from "harmless" -- it is pernicious. Parents are often unaware that today's marijuana is different from that of a generation ago, with potency levels 10 to 20 times stronger than the marijuana with which they were familiar.}
--The Myth of 'Harmless' Marijuana. 
Posted by FoM on May 01, 2002.
By John P. Walters [ONDCP Drug Czar], 
Washington Post See how the prohibitionists use "marijuana ... blah blah blah ... harmless" as a segue into their favorite talking points, in this case the myth of stronger cannabis being more dangerous!The worst example:R. v. Malmo-Levine; R. v. Caine, 2003 SCC 74, [2003] 3 S.C.R. 571 Date: December 23, 2003 Malmo-Levine, referred to as "M":{M, who describes himself as a “marihuana/freedom activist”, helps operate an organization known as the Harm Reduction Club, a co-operative, non-profit association which recognizes some potential harm associated with the use of marihuana and seeks to reduce it. In December 1996, police entered the premises of the Club and seized over 300 grams of marihuana, much of it in the form of “joints”. M was charged with possession of marihuana for the purpose of trafficking under s. 4(2) of the former Narcotic Control Act. At trial, M sought to call evidence in support of a constitutional challenge but the trial judge refused to admit the evidence and dismissed the challenge. M was convicted and the Court of Appeal, in a majority decision, upheld the conviction.} ...Per McLachlin C.J. and Gonthier, Iacobucci, Major, Bastarache and Binnie JJ. [Canadian Supreme Court Justices]: {"Even if the “harm principle” relied upon by the accused could be characterized as a legal principle, it does not meet the other requirements. First, there is no sufficient consensus that the harm principle is vital or fundamental to our societal notion of criminal justice. While the presence of harm to others may justify legislative action under the criminal law power, the absence of proven harm does not create an unqualified s. 7 barrier to legislative action. Nor is there any consensus that the distinction between harm to others and harm to self is of controlling importance. Finally, the harm principle is not a manageable standard against which to measure deprivation of life, liberty or security of the person. While the “harm principle” is not a principle of fundamental justice, the state nevertheless has an interest in the avoidance of harm to those subject to its laws which may justify legislative action. Harm need not be shown to the court’s satisfaction to be “serious and substantial” before Parliament can impose a prohibition. Once it is demonstrated, as it has been here, that the harm is not de minimis, or not “insignificant or trivial”, the precise weighing and calculation of the nature and extent of the harm is Parliament’s job.}!!!Interesting links (not necessarily on the harmless bugaboo):CN ON: PUB LTE: Ideology Has Gone To Pot, Ottawa Citizen, (04 Jul 2006) Bruce Mirken, Marijuana policy project BC: LTE: Potty Claim, The Province, (04 Jul 2006) BC: PUB LTE: Czech Republic Shows Way On Marijuana Reform 2, Vancouver Sun, (04 Jul 2006) BC: PUB LTE: Czech Republic Shows Way On Marijuana Reform, by Kirk Muse, Vancouver Sun, (04 Jul 2006) 
CN ON: PUB LTE: Government Biggest Loser, by Kirk Muse, Ottawa Sun, (28 Jun 2006)"Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance."
--former President Woodrow Wilson, a New Jersey native
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 06, 2006 at 08:18:03 PT
What is Insanity?
Doing the same thing over and over again with the same results. When will they learn that Cannabis is not ever going to go away. It's been on this earth and used since the beginning of recorded time. Grow up politicians! There I feel better.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment