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April 2006
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Alaska Governor Murkowski dealt a set-back

The story so far…
The Alaskan Supreme Court rules that the state constitution’s privacy provision prevents arresting individuals for possessing up to four ounces of marijuana in their home, under the notion that marijuana isn’t dangerous enough to justify the privacy intrusion.
This pisses Governor Murkowski who really wants to go after marijuana users more than anything. So he holds some sham hearings to try to make the case that marijuana is now much more dangerous. He then slips in a marijuana re-criminalization bill and gets it attached to a meth bill. The idea is that he’ll fight it up to the State Supreme Court again — this time proving that the “new” marijuana is really, really dangerous. It looked like it was a sure battle, until…

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The Alaska House dealt a setback on Wednesday to Gov. Frank Murkowski’s efforts to recriminalize marijuana.
Eight Republicans joined thirteen 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.[…]
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 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.

Way to go, Alaska.

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