Constitution Privacy Provisions Allow Marijuana Possession; Alaskan Judge Rules

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by RMJL, Aug 8, 2003.

  1. Constitution Privacy Provisions Allow Marijuana Possession; Alaskan Judge Rules
    Tues, Aug 5, 2003

    Despite a 1990 voter initiative that criminalized the possession of marijuana, an Alaska Superior Court judge has dismissed a man's conviction for possession of the drug on the grounds that the Alaska state constitution's privacy provisions guarantee the right to possess marijuana for personal use. This case is one of many appealed on the basis of the conflicting laws.

    The fate of the conflict could be decided by a local case being considered in the Alaska Court of Appeals. A lawyer for a man convicted in 2001 of possessing marijuana in his home has appealed the conviction, arguing that the nearly three-decade-old Alaska Supreme Court decision declaring personal marijuana possession a state constitutional right is still the law.

    The 1975 Supreme decision, Ravin v. State, ruled that it was legal for adults to possess marijuana in their own homes as long as the quantity was not sufficient to constitute "an intent to deliver." The upcoming Court of Appeals' decision will decide whether this ruling by the state's highest court still protects marijuana possession for personal use in the home despite a 1990 voter initiative that criminalized possession of any amount of the drug in any location. It represents the first time a court with the authority to set precedent will address the conflict.

    Defense attorney in the appeals case, Bill Satterberg, asserts that voters did not have authority to cancel a state constitutional right when they passed the initiative. Since the defendant also suffers from arthritis and stress the appeal may lay bearing on the use of medical marijuana in the state. Alaskan law only removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess written documentation from their physician advising that they "might benefit from the medical use of marijuana," most people who might use the drug for medical reasons will never be able to obtain a written recommendation because doctors are afraid they will lose their license if they prescribe the drug.

    If the Appeals Court rules to uphold the Ravin v. State decision, it will again be legal for adults to possess small quantities of marijuana in their own homes.
  2. im gunnan be a judge, and do that, good judges rock, corrupt ones suck ass

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