Pubdate: Thu, 29 Jan 2015
Source: Alaska Dispatch News (AK)
Copyright: 2015 Alaska Dispatch Publishing
Note: Anchorage Daily News until July '14
Author: Suzanna Caldwell


Anchorage Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux said Wednesday she would postpone 
meetings of the state House and Senate judiciary committees on a bill 
that would define Alaska's criminal marijuana laws until drafters 
complete a version of the law that better reflects "the will of the people."

The decision in Wednesday's joint Judiciary Committee meeting came 
after backlash from both legislators and supporters of Ballot Measure 
2 who expressed concern and confusion over provisions in Senate Bill 
30 on how to address use and possession of recreational marijuana.

The voter-approved initiative made use and possession of up to 1 
ounce of marijuana legal for those 21 and over, beginning Feb. 24. 
But the first version of SB 30 would have retained the existing 
prohibition against the possession, sale and manufacture of 
marijuana, and instead added a provision allowing someone charged 
with a marijuana-related crime to use the initiative as a legal 
defense in court.

That drew ire from legislators and the public, who raised concerns 
that someone could still technically be charged with 
marijuana-related crimes, despite the intent of the ballot measure.

A meeting on the bill was initially scheduled for Friday; LeDoux said 
that future meetings would be canceled until another draft of the 
bill was ready, though it was unclear when that would be.

Amy Saltzman, a legislative staff member working on the bill, told 
The Associated Press that lawmakers still want to pass a version of 
the bill by Feb. 24.

Despite pushing back the bill, the committees continued to hear 
testimony Wednesday, including from Alcoholic Beverage Control Board 
Director Cynthia Franklin and Marijuana Policy Project Director of 
State Policies Karen O'Keefe.
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