Pubdate: Thu, 24 Mar 2005
Source: Anchorage Press (AK)
Copyright: 2005 Anchorage Publishing, Inc.
Author: Savon Duchein
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Opinion)


The state of Alaska is trying to make possession of marijuana a
federal offense. The Senate Health, Education, and Social Services
Committee is holding a hearing on Governor Murkowski's anti-marijuana
bill, seeking to overturn the Alaska Supreme Court's holding in Ravin
v. State, which recognized the constitutional right of Alaskans to
possess small amounts of marijuana in the privacy of their homes. In
addition to curtailing privacy rights, Murkowski's proposed
legislation would make possession of four or more ounces of marijuana
a Class C Felony - on par with incest and child pornography. The bills
would also increase sentences across the board and create several new
marijuana-related offenses. Passage of these bills would be a tragic
failure of reason and an inappropriate use of state power and resources.

It is about time as intelligent people that we look at the issue of
marijuana and its use for everything from depression to glaucoma. We
have to ask ourselves, what is it that we fear? An herb that has been
used since the beginning of time? We must look closely at the reasons
behind the hyperbole we are fed on this issue. I look at all the havoc
that alcohol has created in people's lives, the destruction of
families - and it is a legal substance anyone can buy. Marijuana does
not cause blackouts and does not make people violent, and you cannot
smoke pot till you puke.

Most of the havoc marijuana causes is a result of what the legal
system does by ripping families apart for a small marijuana
possession. We have lost more rights in the last five years than at
any other time in history, due to "The Terrorism Scare." Will we
blindly allow politicians to direct our future with no thought about
what we stand to lose?

Savon Duchein

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