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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.