Friday, September 17, 2004

Alaska leads the way to sensible cannabis policy

I've been following this story for a long time with particular interest because my brother has been living in Anchorage for almost 20 years now and although he's offered to send me a ticket, I've never managed to get there to see his place. Places, I should say since he owns a house on the outskirts of town, a plumbing company and half a mountain somewhere out there. It's not that I don't love my bro, it's just I can never bring myself to go somewhere dark and cold when I get time off to travel. In the end, I always seem to head to a beach. This latest development in the marijuana laws however is certainly an incentive to finally accept his hospitality.

The Alaskan Supreme Court came down with a incredibly sane decision this week, "upholding last year's Court of Appeal unanimous ruling in Noy v. State of Alaska that solidified the argument a person's constitutional right to privacy is greater than a voter initiative making marijuana illegal." The lower court's ruling was in turn based on Ravin v. State which held adults had the right to possess marijuana for personal use in their home.

In 1990, voters passed an initiative on a 55 to 44 percent tally making it illegal to possess any amount of marijuana, but last year the appeals court not only ruled voters didn't have the authority to change the state constitution, but defined 4 ounces or less of marijuana as permissible for personal use at home.

"Noy basically restored Ravin and reaffirmed the right to privacy," said attorney Bill Satterberg, who filed the appeal. "People don't realize the purpose of the court is to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority."

Meanwhile Alaska's John Walters' clone, Attorney General Gregg Renkes, who obviously graduated cum laude from the prohibition profiteer's school of idiotic illogic, vows to keep fighting against sanity in drug policy and intends to squander the taxpayer's money in attempting to amend the constitution of the state in order to declare the world's most beneficial plant a danger to society.

On the other hand, Tim Hinterberger is fighting on the side of reason and bringing forward The Cannabis Decriminalization and Regulation Act, a ballot initiative making it legal for adults over the age of 21 to possess marijuana whether for consumption or distribution which would allow the legislature to levy taxes and potentially provide revenue for the state.

"Alaska clearly has values of independence and responsibility and fairness that are different than the rest of the country," he said. "Clearly marijuana prohibition doesn't work, everyone knows that and it's time to try and find a different way."

For more commentary on this story, check out Drug WarRant. And while you're at the Rant be sure to check out Pete's latest addition to his excellent series of voter's guides. This one is on Alabama which would be almost completely depressing if not for the fact that Loretta Nall is from there.


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