Thursday, May 19, 2005

Attempt to Recriminalize Marijuana in Alaska Fails

Alaska remains the only state in the union where adults may legally possess marijuana, after the state legislature ended its session without acting on a bill sponsored by Gov. Frank Murkowski (R) to recriminalize it.

When the Alaska Supreme Court last year upheld a 1975 Alaska Supreme Court ruling that legalized the possession of up to four ounces of marijuana in the privacy of one's home, Murkowski and the state's law enforcement establishment vowed to override the courts and recriminalize it. In January, Murkowski acted on that promise, sending the legislature a bill that would not only recriminalize marijuana possession, but also create felonies out of pot offenses that are currently misdemeanors.

'This reaffirms my faith that the right thing can happen sometimes in spite of everything,' said a relieved Krissy Oechslin, assistant communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, which worked with local groups to oppose the bill. The vigorous public relations campaign by drug reformers and citizens robbed the bill of momentum.


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