SSHJR 21: Urging the federal government to respect the authority of the state to regulate marijuana use, production, and distribution and to honor previous federal guidance on marijuana policy; and urging the federal government to reconsider its listing of marijuana as a schedule I controlled substance.
00 SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 21 01 Urging the federal government to respect the authority of the state to regulate 02 marijuana use, production, and distribution and to honor previous federal guidance on 03 marijuana policy; and urging the federal government to reconsider its listing of 04 marijuana as a schedule I controlled substance. 05 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 06 WHEREAS art. I, sec. 22, Constitution of the State of Alaska, establishes a right to 07 privacy, stating "The right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed"; 08 and 09 WHEREAS the Alaska Supreme Court held in Ravin v. State, 537 P.2d 494, 511 10 (Alaska 1975), that there is "no adequate justification for the state's intrusion into the citizen's 11 right to privacy by its prohibition of possession of marijuana by an adult for personal 12 consumption in the home . . . ."; and 13 WHEREAS the citizens of the state voted to legalize marijuana by way of Ballot 14 Measure No. 2, an "Act to tax and regulate the production, sale, and use of marijuana," on 15 November 4, 2014; and
01 WHEREAS the state has prioritized the federal marijuana enforcement objectives 02 stated in the August 29, 2013, memorandum from the United States Department of Justice to 03 all United States Attorneys, including preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors, 04 preventing revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and 05 cartels, preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in 06 some form to other states, preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a 07 cover or a pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity, preventing 08 violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana, preventing 09 drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated 10 with marijuana use, preventing the growing of marijuana on public land and the attendant 11 public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public land, and 12 preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property; and 13 WHEREAS the state has implemented regulations under 3 AAC 306 that respect and 14 support the federal priorities listed in the Department of Justice's August 29, 2013, 15 memorandum; and 16 WHEREAS the American Medical Association supports public health-based 17 strategies, rather than incarceration, for individuals possessing cannabis for personal use and 18 urges the federal government to review its listing of marijuana as a schedule 1 controlled 19 substance with the goal of facilitating clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based 20 medicines and alternative delivery methods; and 21 WHEREAS, on August 1, 2017, Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth sent a 22 letter to United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions stating that former federal policy, as 23 articulated in the Department of Justice's August 29, 2013, memorandum, represented "a 24 pragmatic approach that effectively created space for states to be responsive to their residents 25 while also protecting federal priorities" and requesting the federal government to engage 26 directly with states to discuss potential approaches before reaching any final decisions on 27 changes to the Department of Justice's marijuana enforcement policies; and 28 WHEREAS, on January 16, 2018, Attorney General Lindemuth and the attorneys 29 general of 18 other states, districts, and territories sent a letter urging the United States 30 Congress to advance legislation to allow states that have legalized medical or recreational use 31 of marijuana to bring legal marijuana-related commerce into the banking system; and
01 WHEREAS Alaska Governor Bill Walker and the governors of Colorado, 02 Washington, and Oregon sent a letter, dated April 3, 2017, urging United States Attorney 03 General Jeff Sessions and United States Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin to engage 04 with states where marijuana has been legalized before embarking on any changes to federal 05 regulatory and enforcement systems; and 06 WHEREAS Alaska Governor Bill Walker sent letters to United States Attorney 07 General Jeff Sessions, dated August 1, 2017, and August 14, 2017, stating the manner in 08 which Alaska's regulatory framework governing state-licensed marijuana businesses 09 addresses federal interests and urging the federal government to maintain policies that respect 10 the state's authority; and 11 WHEREAS, on January 18, 2018, United States Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan 12 Sullivan joined with 14 other Senators from around the country in a letter to the Director of 13 the United States Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network 14 expressing continuing support for a 2014 Financial Crimes Enforcement Network guidance on 15 Bank Secrecy Act expectations regarding marijuana-related businesses; and 16 WHEREAS United States Representative Don Young is cosponsoring H.R. 4779 17 (REFER Act of 2018), which would prohibit the United States Department of Justice from 18 using federal funds to "detain, prosecute, sentence, or initiate civil proceedings against an 19 individual, business or property, that is involved in the cultivation, distribution, possession, 20 dispensation, or use of cannabis," when those activities are conducted in compliance with 21 state law and local regulations; and 22 WHEREAS United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions' rescission of the 23 Department of Justice's August 29, 2013, memorandum and other federal guidance on state 24 marijuana policy undermines federal priorities; 25 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges the federal government to 26 respect the authority of the State of Alaska to regulate marijuana use, production, and 27 distribution and forbear any federal interference in marijuana policy of states where marijuana 28 has been legalized, in keeping with the federal enforcement priorities enumerated in the 29 United States Department of Justice's August 29, 2013, memorandum; and be it 30 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges the federal 31 government to reconsider its listing of marijuana as a federal schedule I controlled substance.
01 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Donald J. Trump, President 02 of the United States; the Honorable Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the United States; and 03 the Honorable Lisa Murkowski and the Honorable Dan Sullivan, U.S. Senators, and the 04 Honorable Don Young, U.S. Representative, members of the Alaska delegation in Congress.