State & Local Legislatures

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Judge Blocks Law that Changes Treatment Initiative (California)

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Associated Press
URL: 
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/breaking_news/15033430.htm

New Jersey Medical Marijuana Legislation

Location: 
NJ
United States
Publication/Source: 
Atlantic City Weekly
URL: 
http://www.atlanticcityweekly.com/view.php?id=4714&issue_id=135_

ACLU Alaska press release

And another ACLU item, this one about the Alaska victory that came as expected -- hopefully not just a short term victory, but only time will tell about that. Read our feature story in the Chronicle from about a month ago.
Adults Have Privacy Right to Use Marijuana in the Home, Says Alaska Judge in Landmark Ruling ACLU Wins Multi-Year Battle to Protect Alaska Residents From Drug War Excesses FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 11, 2006 JUNEAU - In a landmark ruling, an Alaska state court judge has upheld adults' right to possess and use small amounts of marijuana within their homes. The American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the law, said the ruling confirmed that the state constitution protects adults who use and possess marijuana in their homes from police surveillance, searches, arrest and prosecution. "The drug war has wreaked havoc on the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution, but fortunately many state constitutions still shield individuals from drug war excess," said Allen Hopper, an attorney with the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project. "This ruling is incredibly significant from a national perspective, because there are a number of states with similar privacy rights in their constitutions that may afford protections to adult marijuana users." With the court's ruling, Alaska remains the only state in the nation in which adults are legally free to possess and use small amounts of marijuana within their homes. "The state of Alaska has charted a different course from that of the federal government's failed policy on marijuana," said Michael MacLeod-Ball, Executive Director of the ACLU of Alaska. "This ruling affirms Alaska's commitment to fundamental privacy rights over reefer madness." The ACLU filed suit against the State of Alaska after it passed a law earlier this year that would have re-criminalized adult use and possession of small amounts of marijuana within the home. Since 1975, the Alaska Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the state constitution's privacy provisions protect adults' possession of small amounts of marijuana in the home, and the state court's ruling relied in part on those decisions. A similar law was proposed in 2005 by Governor Frank Murkowski, but failed to pass following testimony by international, national and state scientific experts that adult use of marijuana is no more dangerous today than it was in 1975. In the 1975 ruling, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in Ravin v. State that the state constitution's right to privacy protects adults who use and possess marijuana within the home from criminal prosecution. Judge Patricia Collins of the Juneau Superior Court relied on the Ravin decision to reaffirm that the relatively minor dangers associated with adult possession and use of small amounts of marijuana within the home do not justify government surveillance and searches of homes or criminal prosecution. Her ruling was issued late yesterday. The State of Alaska argued that since the 1975 Ravin decision, marijuana has become more potent and dangerous, justifying a revisiting of the Supreme Court's previous ruling. Judge Collins disagreed, stating in her opinion that the "[Ravin] decision is law until and unless the supreme court takes contrary action." The ruling is online at: www.aclu.org/drugpolicy/decrim/26112lgl20060711.html The ACLU's legal papers are available at: www.aclu.org/drugpolicy/decrim/26060lgl20060630.html Additional background information on ACLU of Alaska v. State of Alaska can also be found at: www.aclu.org/drugpolicy/decrim/26076prs20060630.html
Location: 
Juneau, AK
United States

Judge Invalidates Alaska Marijuana Recriminalization Law, As Expected

Publication/Source: 
Associated Press
URL: 
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003118645_webpot10.html

Methamphetamine Sold Openly In Stores

This is the kind of mundane story that doesn't make it into the Chronicle, but it is an example of the misreporting that plagues drug policy journalism. Meth isn't being sold in drugs stores, but that's what the misleading headline in a story about the availability of ephedrine says. Bad, bad, bad headline writing. http://www.abcnews4.com/news/stories/0706/343456.html
Location: 
United States

At least 21 states include drug offenses in their definitions of child abuse

Michigan is the latest, with Gov. Granholm signing a bill on Thursday that will make some meth offenses per se evidence of child abuse. I have a problem with these laws. I think child abuse is already well defined and people who fit the criteria should be punished for it. But saying that using or even cooking speed equals child abuse is just absurd on the face of it. I'll be talking to people through the week as I write a story on this to see if I'm wrong.
Location: 
United States

Marijuana: West Hollywood Passes "Lowest Priority" Resolution

The West Hollywood, CA, City Council voted Monday night to approve a resolution calling on Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies to not "target adult marijuana users who consume this drug in private and pose no danger to the community." Although it is nonbinding, the resolution sends a strong message to LA County Sheriff Joe Baca about how the city of 35,000 wants its laws enforced.

West Hollywood now becomes the first Southern California city to adopt a "lowest law enforcement priority" measure toward marijuana similar to Oakland's successful 2004 Proposition Z initiative. But it may not be the last this year. Similar "lowest priority" measures are slated to go to the voters in Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Santa Monica in November.

http://www.stopthedrugwar.com/files/wammposter.jpg
medical marijuana poster from WAMM, Santa Cruz
The resolution was introduced by Councilman John Duran, and passed on a 4-0 vote. Duran and the council acted after local activists organized in the West Hollywood Civil Liberties Alliance filed a petition to put a lowest priority initiative to the popular vote. Given that city officials viewed LA County Sheriff Joe Baca as already not making marijuana law enforcement a high priority, and fearful of costs and "inflexibilities" associated with a ballot initiative, the council agreed to address the issue via a resolution after consulting with the Alliance.

The resolution says "be it resolved that the City Council of the City of West Hollywood hereby declares that it is not the policy of the City or its law enforcement agency to target possession of small amounts of marijuana and the consumption of marijuana in private by adults."

"Marijuana, you know, a joint or two is just so far down on the scale it doesn't seem worthwhile to allocate any sources to the enforcement of the marijuana laws," said Duran. "We've seen that marijuana use is certainly no more dangerous and destructive than alcohol use," Duran said. "The whole 'reefer madness' hysteria has worn thin."

While Sheriff Baca and his deputies may not be prowling West Hollywood for pot smokers, the agency is unsurprisingly not happy to be told how to do its job. Some Sheriff's Office officials were among the few public opponents of the resolution, and City Councilman Joe Prang, who is a high Baca advisor, abstained on the vote.

But Baca was being politic Monday afternoon. "We certainly in my office understand what pressure is," he told the Los Angeles Times, suggesting city officials were besieged by pot legalizers. "My belief is that the city needs to have its voice heard on the matter, and the question will remain to what extent is this resolution binding. We will look at it for all of our pluses and minuses and advise the City Council as to our position."

If the department decides it will not comply with the resolution, the city could terminate its $10 million annual contract to provide law enforcement services and seek another department to replace the Sheriff's Department. But that is unlikely, Duran told the Times. "That would put us in an awkward situation," he said."

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