NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - March 20, 2008

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - March 20, 2008
Posted by CN Staff on March 20, 2008 at 14:49:29 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
 Alaska Supreme Court Hears Marijuana Possession Case March 20, 2008 - Juneau, AK, USAJuneau, AK: A two-year legal battle over the constitutionality of an Alaskan law recriminalizing possession of cannabis in one’s own home was heard by the Alaska Supreme Court today.
The measure, passed by the Alaska Legislature in April of 2006, sought to end the decriminalization of marijuana resulting from a 1975 Alaska Supreme Court ruling in Ravin v State, which held that personal ingestion and possession of up to four ounces of cannabis in one’s own home fell under the Alaska constitution’s protection of the right to privacy. The Alaska ACLU successfully sued to have the law overturned by the Alaska Superior Court, which upheld Ravin.In that decision, Alaska Superior Court judge Patricia Collins ruled that the Alaska legislature lacks the authority to override the Supreme Court's 1975 decision. "The Alaska Supreme Court has repeatedly and consistently characterized the Ravin decision as announcing a constitutional limitation of the government's authority to enact legislation prohibiting the possession of marijuana in the privacy of one’s home," she determined. "That decision is the law until and unless the Supreme Court takes contrary action."Collin's ruling struck down sections of the new law criminalizing the possession of one ounce or less of cannabis, but leaves in place measures prohibiting the possession of greater amounts. Under the 2006 law, possession of one to four ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail."The Alaska Court of Appeals has held that the legislature has the power to set reasonable limits on the amount of marijuana that people can possess for personal use in their homes and that such regulation does not conflict with Ravin," Collins determined.In 2004, the Alaska Supreme Court rejected a petition by the attorney general’s office to reconsider a September 2003 Court of Appeals decision that the possession of marijuana by adults within the home is constitutionally protected activity.Governor Frank Murkowski (R), who strongly advocated for the new law, has argued that Ravin should no longer apply in Alaska because cannabis may pose greater health and safety risks today than it did in 1975.For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500.DL: New Hampshire: House Passes Pot Decriminalization Proposal   March 20, 2008 - Concord, NH, USAConcord, NH: Members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 193 to 141 on Tuesday in favor of legislation seeking to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis.As passed, House Bill 1623 would replace criminal sanctions outlawing the possession of up to one-quarter ounce of marijuana with civil penalties, punishable by a fine only.Under current state law, the possession or use of any amount of cannabis is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.Currently, twelve states have enacted versions of marijuana decriminalization – replacing criminal sanctions with the imposition of fine-only penalties for minor pot violators.In February, members of the Vermont Senate approved a similar proposal decriminalizing up to one ounce of marijuana. That measure is now before the House Judiciary Committee.If enacted into law, New Hampshire would be the first state to approve the decriminalization of marijuana since Nevada’s legislature did so in 2001.For more information, please visit: or visit NORML’s "Take Action" Center at: Ninth Circuit Rejects Blanket Drug Testing Of Public Employees  March 20, 2008 - San Francisco, CA, USASan Francisco, CA: Government job applicants may not be randomly drug tested absent evidence that their on-the-job impairment would pose a legitimate safety risk to others, according to a unanimous ruling last week by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling struck down an Oregon city’s policy mandating all public job applicants undergo suspicionless urine testing for the presence of certain illicit drug metabolites. The Court decided that the city of Woodford’s desire to maintain a ‘drug-free workplace’ was not sufficient enough to override an individual’s Constitutional protections to be free from unreasonable searches. The Ninth Circuit based its decision on a 1997 US Supreme Court ruling, Chandler v. Miller. In that case, the Court rejected a Georgia law that sought to require random drug testing for all political candidates, determining that the statute was unconstitutional because it "diminishes personal privacy for a symbol’s sake."Similarly, the Ninth Circuit determined: "[The City’s] policy is unconstitutional as applied because [it] failed to demonstrate a special need to screen a prospective [employee] for drugs. … [The City] posits that it has a substantial and important interest in screening [public employees] for three reasons: drug abuse is one of the most serious problems confronting society today, drug use has an adverse impact on job performance, and children must be protected from those who use drugs or could influence children to use them. No doubt these problems are worthy of concern, but there is scant, if any, indication that on account of them, the City has ‘special needs’ of sufficient weight to justify an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of individualized suspicion."The case is Lanier v. City of Woodburn.For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the opinion is available online at: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: March 20, 2008Copyright: 2008 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by Yanxor on March 20, 2008 at 20:54:26 PT
Just an idea
The state spends (give or take) 20 billion a year on prosecuting cannabis users.
Cannabis is the number one cash crop in america - sell and tax at the level of tobacco, and you get another 30ish billion a year.
That's 50 million.
Our entire Department of Education budget is 60 billion dollars.So here's an idea - legalize cannabis - infuse 50 billion into education, science and research - and you've got a great way to stay competitive in the global community and economy.But what kind of message will that send to the kids?Keeping it illegal is just ludicrous, it's like a joke of a nightmare that you never wake up from. When will the federal government dispel this haze of corrupt, moralist stupidity.
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Comment #1 posted by NikoKun on March 20, 2008 at 20:47:58 PT
We decriminalize it, they recriminalize it... -_-They should REALLY be required to prove... Actually prove, how Marijuana deserves to be criminally outlawed...
Cause they have nothing... If they were actually forced to justify criminalization of this plant, I bet they simply couldn't.I'm sorry, but none of the real harms of Marijuana, are worth criminalization, CERTAINLY not when compared to legal drugs like alcohol or tobacco.
Even some of the "made-up" harms of Marijuana, are still not reasons enough, to warrant criminalization.But we live in a time when barbaric zero tolerance policies are still king... -_- So many politicians are incapable of thinking about the issue differently.
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