Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

03/30/2005 08:30 AM JUDICIARY

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08:37:08 AM Start
08:42:16 AM Confirmation Hearing – Select Committee on Legislative Ethics
08:45:13 AM SB106
09:29:59 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
Confirmation Hearing: Select Committee on
Legislative Ethics: Marianne Stillner
         SB 106-SALE OF METHAMPHETAMINE AND PRECURSORS                                                                      
8:45:13 AM                                                                                                                    
SERGEANT  TIMOTHY  BIRT,  Alaska  State  Troopers,  testified  in                                                               
support  of  SB  106.  Methamphetamine  (meth)  contributes  many                                                               
dangers to  the community, although  chemicals used to  make meth                                                               
have  legitimate   retail  uses.  Byproducts  of   combining  the                                                               
chemicals  are  toxic,  flammable, explosive,  and  create  toxic                                                               
residues that  contaminate dwellings.  There are 150  recipes for                                                               
manufacturing meth, which are easily obtainable online.                                                                         
8:47:54 AM                                                                                                                    
One  hundred  percent  of  the meth  manufactured  in  Alaska  is                                                               
manufactured  from  diverted   Pseudo  Ephedrine  (diverted  from                                                               
legitimate use to an illegal drug).                                                                                             
SENATOR GUESS  asked Sgt.  Birt to comment  on a  suggested limit                                                               
for legitimate personal use.                                                                                                    
SERGEANT  BIRT said  the  Alaska State  Troopers  would prefer  a                                                               
limit of  six grams.  The lower  threshold would  have more  of a                                                               
significant  impact.   The  State  of  Oregon   has  a  nine-gram                                                               
threshold and report they haven't seen  much of an impact on meth                                                               
labs.  The State  of Iowa  recently went  to a  seven and  a half                                                               
8:49:44 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH  asked Sgt. Birt  the amount  of meth that  can be                                                               
made out of nine grams of Pseudo ephedrine.                                                                                     
SERGEANT BIRT answered  from nine grams of  Pseudo ephedrine, six                                                               
and three quarters grams of meth can be derived.                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked the amount an addict doses.                                                                                
SERGEANT  BIRT responded  an  addict divides  one  gram into  ten                                                               
portions and one portion is equal to one dose.                                                                                  
SENATOR FRENCH asked the street price of one gram of meth.                                                                      
SERGEANT BIRT answered $150 dollars.                                                                                            
8:51:30 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH commented nine grams  of Pseudo ephedrine converts                                                               
to  approximately  $1,000 dollars  worth  of  meth. He  said  the                                                               
committee   was  concerned   with   protection   of  people   who                                                               
legitimately use the  product. He asked Sgt. Birt  to explain how                                                               
an officer would identify a meth lab.                                                                                           
SERGEANT BIRT advised  officers normally rely upon  more than one                                                               
indicator. Exceptional  amounts of Pseudo ephedrine  packages and                                                               
certain types of solvents, along  with unusual amounts of lye and                                                               
sulfuric acids would be an indicator.                                                                                           
8:54:13 AM                                                                                                                    
Various cooking  items such  as hotplates  and Pyrex  dishes with                                                               
residues,  fans,  hoses,  tubing,  gas  generators  all  indicate                                                               
evidence of manufacturing.                                                                                                      
SENATOR FRENCH commented Oregon has  a savings clause in its meth                                                               
statutes, which  say the law  doesn't apply to someone  whose use                                                               
is  consistent with  typical household  use. He  wondered whether                                                               
Alaska should have a similar savings clause.                                                                                    
SERGEANT BIRT agreed that would be a good idea.                                                                                 
8:56:40 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  CINDY BUELLER,  pharmacist,  representing  the Alaska  State                                                               
Board  of Pharmacy  testified in  support  of SB  106. The  board                                                               
encourages limiting the sale of  Pseudo ephedrine for the purpose                                                               
of  stopping   the  production  of  methamphetamines.   It  is  a                                                               
relatively small inconvenience to the public.                                                                                   
8:59:57 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BUELLER stated  pharmacists do  not want  to lock  up multi-                                                               
ingredient  products  because  meth  cookers  do  not  use  those                                                               
products to make meth.                                                                                                          
9:01:22 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH  asked whether it  is impossible to make  meth out                                                               
of multi-ingredient products.                                                                                                   
MS.  BUELLER answered  Washington state  legislation suggests  it                                                               
would be a substantial hurdle.                                                                                                  
SERGEANT BIRT commented meth cookers  prefer to use single Pseudo                                                               
ephedrine  sources. It  is possible  to create  meth from  multi-                                                               
ingredient  products but  it takes  a higher  level of  chemistry                                                               
9:02:53 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS asked Sgt. Birt whether  it is a threat to have the                                                               
combined products readily available on retail shelves.                                                                          
SERGEANT BIRT  stated his experience  is meth cooks  utilize cold                                                               
tablets primarily.                                                                                                              
9:06:09 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEEKINS  commented  there   was  no  reliable  information                                                               
indicating  the  presence  of  other  products  would  block  the                                                               
chemical  process   of  producing  meth   using  multi-ingredient                                                               
SERGEANT  BIRT agreed.  He asserted  SB  106 would  significantly                                                               
impact meth labs.                                                                                                               
9:07:30 AM                                                                                                                    
SERGEANT BIRT  continued once register  logs were  made available                                                               
to law enforcement it would provide tremendous help.                                                                            
9:09:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked Sgt.  Birt whether  he has  information from                                                               
Oklahoma to indicate the registry log has been helpful.                                                                         
SERGEANT BIRT said Oklahoma has  seen a significant impact in the                                                               
reduction of meth labs.                                                                                                         
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  the economic  profile of  the average  meth                                                               
SERGEANT  BIRT revealed  they were  normally low-income  renters,                                                               
with numerous  junk vehicles surrounding residences  that contain                                                               
junk and clutter inside and outside the residence.                                                                              
9:12:38 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS asked the motivation for manufacturing meth.                                                                      
SERGEANT BIRT  responded addiction  and money. A  $100 investment                                                               
can quickly and easily turn into $1000.                                                                                         
CHAIR  SEEKINS  asked  Sgt.  Birt   whether  he  has  seen  large                                                               
quantities of  Pseudo ephedrine purchased  over the  Internet and                                                               
shipped into Alaska.                                                                                                            
SERGEANT BIRT responded no.                                                                                                     
9:15:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  whether  there  was a  way  for a  shipping                                                               
company to know the contents of a package they are shipping.                                                                    
SERGEANT BIRT responded he did not know.                                                                                        
9:17:54 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS voiced concern there  may be other supply routes to                                                               
research for future legislation.                                                                                                
9:19:51 AM                                                                                                                    
SERGEANT BIRT  agreed. He is  aware that Pseudo ephedrine  can be                                                               
purchased  online but  currently it  is purchased  in-state using                                                               
existing retail outlets.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  FRENCH asked  the Oklahoma  experience since  their meth                                                               
SERGEANT  BIRT responded  Oklahoman  has noticed  an increase  in                                                               
Pseudo ephedrine sales in adjoining states.                                                                                     
9:22:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  expressed concern SB 106  would restrict retailers                                                               
in Alaska but would leave the wholesale door wide open.                                                                         
9:24:07 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GUESS asked Ms. Marlena Adams to testify.                                                                               
MS. MARLENA ADAMS testified in  support of SB 106. Her experience                                                               
as  a  meth addict  caused  her  almost insurmountable  pain  and                                                               
SB 106 was held in committee.                                                                                                   

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