Marijuana ban unconstitutional, Alaska appeals court says

Jamin Chef

Active Member
Oct 6, 2003
Marijuana ban unconstitutional, Alaska appeals court says

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A law banning Alaskans from possessing any amount of marijuana in their homes has been ruled unconstitutional by a state appeals court Friday.
Friday's decision by the Alaska Court of Appeals reversed the 2001 drug conviction of a North Pole man and ordered a new trial.

The ruling affirms a 1975 Alaska Supreme Court decision that found it legal to possess less than four ounces of marijuana in one's home. That ruling found that the state constitution's strong privacy law superseded legislative attempts to ban marijuana.

Alaska voters approved a law in 1990 that criminalized the possession of any amount of drug in any location. That law had gone unchallenged until David Noy appealed his conviction on a count of sixth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance. A search of Noy's home had turned up five live pot plants, growing equipment and other paraphernalia.

Attorney General Gregg Renkes has said he will petition the state Supreme Court for a review. Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski called the court's ruling "regrettable."


Amos 9:6 | Psalm 103
Sep 21, 2003
South Central AK
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[font=Arial,Helvetica][size=+1] Newsbrief: Alaska Marijuana Initiative Back on Track [/size][/font] [font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-2] 10/3/03 [/size][/font] [font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]An Alaska Superior Court judge has overturned a finding by state election officials that invalidated thousands of signatures for an initiative that would decriminalize marijuana possession. Last fall Free Hemp in Alaska (, the initiative organizers, gathered nearly 50,000 signatures to place the issue on the ballot, but Lt. Governor Loren Leman, an avowed foe of marijuana reform whose duties include overseeing elections, threw out nearly 29,000 signatures, leaving the measure short of the 28,000 needed to qualify.[/size][/font]

[font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]Free Hemp in Alaska appealed, charging that the disqualifications were politically motivated and based on technical violations that should not invalidate the signatures. In Alaska, signature gatherers are given books to do their work. Leman throw out 194 of 484 books turned in, including 188 because gatherers failed to identify who got the signatures, three because gatherers were not registered to vote, two because they failed to name the organization that paid the gatherer, and one because the gatherer failed to check a box stating whether or not he was paid.[/size][/font]

[font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]Superior Court Judge Suddock agreed with Free Hemp in a September 22 ruling notable for its harshness toward Leman and the state Division of Elections. "Our Supreme Court has reiterated on several occasions that the right to initiative is not to be defeated by technical rule violations," he wrote. And he wondered in print whether the Division of Elections was trying to sabotage the initiative by failing to notify organizers of problems. "The Court is hesitant to find on this record that the Division of Elections lay as a snake in the grass, knowing that the initiative committee was at risk by virtue of its reporting errors... However, the Division was, at least, asleep at the switch," Suddock added.[/size][/font]

[font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]Leman denied to several media outlets that his opinion of the initiative influenced his rulings on the signatures, but initiative supporters weren't buying it. "We anticipated some type of adversity from Loren Leman," one of the initiative's organizers, Scott Dunnachie told the Juneau Empire, adding that it was one of the reasons they collected so many extra signatures. "I do feel that there was something personal there. It is rare that an initiative is thrown out over a regulation."[/size][/font]

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