Alaska: AG Requests Supreme Court To Rule On Pot Recriminalization Measure


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Oct 22, 2005
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August 3, 2006 - Juneau, AK, USA
Juneau, AK: The state Attorney General's office filed notice last week with the Alaska Supreme Court seeking to overturn a recent Superior Court ruling that found the legislature's effort to criminalize small amounts of cannabis to be unconstitutional.
In July, an Alaska Superior Court judge struck down provisions of a new state law that sought to redefine minor marijuana possession as a criminal offense punishable by jail time.
The Alaska ACLU filed suit to block enforcement of the law, arguing that it violated the privacy clause of the state constitution, which provides that "the right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed." In a 1975 Alaska state Supreme Court ruling (Ravin v State), justices determined that this constitutional provision encompassed the possession and use of small amounts of cannabis in the home.
Superior Court judge Patricia Collins ruled last month that the Alaska legislature lacks the authority to override the Supreme Court's 1975 decision, finding that the Ravin 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 left in place measures prohibiting the possession of greater amounts.
Governor Frank Murkowksi (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.