Newsbrief: Alaska Marijuana Initiative Backers Sue Lieutenant Governor Over Election Pamphlet 10/22/04

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Organizers of the initiative that would remove criminal penalties for marijuana in Alaska and regulate its distribution filed suit Tuesday against Alaska Lt. Gov. Loren Leman over his office's role in drafting a statement of opposition in the Official Election Pamphlet presented to voters. While it is too late to alter the pamphlet, the lawsuit seeks a court ruling that the role of Leman's office in writing the statement was improper and violated the state constitution. It also seeks a statement from Leman acknowledging that his office acted improperly and asks that he distribute that information to voters.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, Leman's chief of staff, Annette Kreitzler, wrote the statement based on information she pulled from the FBI web site. Although it was penned by Kreitzler, the statement appears under the signature of Dr. Charles Herndon, medical director at Providence Breakthrough, a drug and alcohol treatment center. The pamphlet with the statement was sent to 300,000 Alaska voters.

Initiative supporters at Yes on 2 (http://www.regulatemarijuanainalaska.org) cried foul, calling Leman's office's action outrageous. "It's clear to us that he has crossed the line of neutrality, and if he has not directly violated his office, he most certainly has violated the spirit of his elected office," initiative proponent Tim Hinterberger told the Daily News. "The only significant duty of the lieutenant governor is to run impartial elections, and he can't even get that right," Hinterberger said.

Initiative supporters weren't the only ones raking Leman over the coals over his lack of impartiality. A long-time opponent of marijuana law reform, Leman has consistently tried to block such initiatives. "Lt. Gov. Loren Leman just doesn't get it," the Daily News editorialized Wednesday. "He doesn't seem to understand that his only real job under the Alaska Constitution is to oversee state elections with complete integrity. Instead, he keeps using and abusing elections processes like a political hack on the stump."

With little more than 10 days until the election, the battle over marijuana in Alaska is heating up. Last week, deputy drug czar Scott Burns joined a number of high state officials in press conference aimed at defeating the initiative. But that may be too little too late in a state where privacy rights are jealously guarded and the frontier spirit of independence still holds sway.

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Issue #359, 10/22/04 Editorial: Twenty Years? | California Initiative to Rein-In Three-Strikes Law Appears Headed for Victory | English Drug Reformers Map Route to Post-Prohibition Drug Policy | In California Senate Race, Judge Jim Gray Gets No Respect from Media, Polls, or Debates, Despite Strong Showing | DRCNet Book Review: "15 To Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom," by Tony Papa with Jennifer Wynn Feral House Press, $22.95 HB) | A Message from the Executive Director on What DRCNet is Planning After Election Day and Why We Need Your Help | Newsbrief: Kerry Says Feds Should Butt Out of Oregon Laws | Newsbrief: Alaska Marijuana Initiative Backers Sue Lieutenant Governor Over Election Pamphlet | Newsbrief: Bush, Kerry, Nader Respond to HEA Query | Newsbrief: African-American Professional Groups Form Coalition to Change Drug Policies | Newsbrief: Federal Judge Rules Cops Can Lie on the Stand | Newsbrief: End of Opium Cultivation Spells Looming Disaster for Burmese Peasants | Newsbrief: Three Dead in Peru Coca Confrontation -- Cocaleros Occupy Buildings in Provincial City | Newsbrief: Dutch Medical Marijuana Program Runs Up Against Law of the Market | Newsbrief: Actress's Marijuana Bust Challenge Causing Waves in South Korea | Newsbrief: Canadian Government to Reintroduce Marijuana Reform Bill, But Adds Driver Drug Testing, Too | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | This Week in History | The DARE Generation Returns to DC: Students for Sensible Drug Policy 2004 National Conference Next Month | Apply Now to Intern at DRCNet! | Administrative Assistant: Part-Time Job Opportunity at DRCNet | The Reformer's Calendar
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