With so many articles lately about legalizing Marijuana in Alaska I just had to enlighten those who wonder, well why? Well folks I hate to burst the bubble but Alaska was one of the very first states to legalize Marijuana. It was brought about by Irwin Ravin, a very rambunctious attorney who deliberately got arrested in Anchorage for refusing to sign a traffic ticket while in possession of marijuana in order to challenge the existing law. In fact you could say that he is one of the people who is partly responsible in part to the legalization movement itself almost forty years later.
In a landmark case of Ravin vs State a 1975 decision by the Alaska Supreme Court that held the Alaska Constitution’s right to privacy protects an adult’s ability to use and possess a small amount of marijuana in the home for personal use. What was that you said? I said : The Alaska Supreme Court thereby became the first-and only-state or federal court to announce a constitutional privacy right that protects some level of marijuana use and possession. This decision sparked by the independent nature of Alaskan’s, and the theory of your house is your private domain, and cannot be searched for Marijuana,( unless police are called to the residence for other laws being broken.) But the law still makes it illegal to sale, trade or even give away marijuana.
The court ruled:
“we conclude that no adequate justification for the state’s intrusion into the citizen’s right to privacy by its prohibition of possession of marijuana by an adult for personal consumption in the home has been shown. The privacy of the individual’s home cannot be breached absent a persuasive showing of a close and substantial relationship of the intrusion to a legitimate governmental interest. Here, mere scientific doubts will not suffice. The state must demonstrate a need based on proof that the public health or welfare will in fact suffer if the controls are not applied.” (The rest of the United States could benefit from this political view point especially these days!” )
The law does allow you to have 13 plants and up to one to four ounces the courts been out on that ruling since 2009, so we will eventually get an answer on how much a regular person is allowed to have in their house.
So why is Alaska trying to “legalize” Marijuana? Well let me count the hypocritical ways. First we do have medical marijuana in the state, but up until the last five years physicians were so scared of losing their licenses that it was impossible to get a recommendation. Seven years ago the estimate of permit holders in the state was less than 200 now in 2013 it is 2000.
If you have a medical marijuana card you are restricted to six plants three vegitive (juvenile plants) and three flowering (plants that are mature for harvest) you are also allowed one ounce of Marijuana. The card keeps you from being prosecuted if you are caught carrying an ounce of marijuana on you while traveling in a vehicle or if you are in public. The ridiculous part is that a lot of medical marijuana patients are unable to grow due to health issues. Yes there is a caregiver law that allows someone to grow for an infirm person, but people are not jumping up and down to do this due to our crazy or should I say hazy laws here.
Therefore people who are too ill to grow who do not have a care giver have no way to access Marijuana legally. The fact that a federal program called “The Federal Governments Compassionate Federal IND program” has supplied a group who sued for the use in the 70’s shows that in fact Marijuana has been legal Federally in the United States for decades. Of course most people have never heard of the program where 13 people received a can of 160 to 300 marijuana cigarettes grown in a federal facility. Of the original group only four are still alive and still receiving their cans of already rolled joints.
I could go on to state statistics of how many non violent pot offenders are in the prison system, how families are torn apart and how drug policies actually are a war against it’s own citizens. But I think by now everyone has been brought up to speed on those issues.
And for even more reason to finally come up with laws is that Alaskan voters approved a ballot initiative re criminalizing marijuana possession in 1990, but in Noy v. State, the Alaska Court of Appeals realized hey we can’t do that legally, and thus the portion of the amended statutes criminalizing possession of less than four ounces of marijuana in the home was unconstitutional. In 2006, the Alaska Legislature amended the law to prohibit the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana and to make possession of more than one ounce of marijuana a class A misdemeanor. As of November 2009, Alaskan courts have not considered the constitutionality of this statute.
So the reasons are many, the facts are clouded, convoluted, and basically change with the winds. That is why it needs to be clarified and “legalized recreationally”, so we Alaskan’s can finally come out of the proverbial closet and exercise our right to access a beneficial natural medicine, and of course to recreate. And believe me Alaskans Love to recreate.You can tell by all those shows on the Discovery channel.