Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 120

04/08/2005 08:00 AM JUDICIARY


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Audio Topic
08:18:50 AM Start
08:23:35 AM HB96
10:11:25 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 96 CRIMES INVOLVING MARIJUANA/OTHER DRUGS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
+= HB 12 TVS AND MONITORS IN MOTOR VEHICLES TELECONFERENCED
Bill Postponed To 4/11
+= HB 33 EFFECT OF REGULATIONS ON SMALL BUSINESSES TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 33(JUD) Out of Committee 4/7
<Please note time>
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 8, 2005                                                                                          
                           8:18 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Lesil McGuire, Chair                                                                                             
Representative Tom Anderson                                                                                                     
Representative John Coghill                                                                                                     
Representative Pete Kott                                                                                                        
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Nancy Dahlstrom                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 96                                                                                                               
"An Act making findings relating to marijuana use and                                                                           
possession; relating to marijuana and misconduct involving a                                                                    
controlled substance; and providing for an effective date."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 12                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to televisions and monitors in motor vehicles."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - BILL HEARING POSTPONED TO 4/11/05                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 33                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to the effect of regulations on small                                                                          
businesses; and providing for an effective date."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 33(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE ON 4/7/05                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB  96                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CRIMES INVOLVING MARIJUANA/OTHER DRUGS                                                                             
SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/21/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/21/05       (H)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
04/08/05       (H)       JUD AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DAVID W. MURRAY, M.A., Ph.D., Special Assistant                                                                                 
to the Director                                                                                                                 
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)                                                                      
Washington, D.C.                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided comments and responded to                                                                         
questions during discussion of HB 96.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DEAN J. GUANELI, Chief Assistant Attorney General                                                                               
Legal Services Section-Juneau                                                                                                   
Criminal Division                                                                                                               
Department of Law (DOL)                                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 96 on behalf of the                                                                           
administration and responded to questions.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CRISTY WILLER, Deputy Director                                                                                                  
Central Office                                                                                                                  
Division Of Behavioral Health                                                                                                   
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS)                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  During discussion of HB 96, provided                                                                       
comments and responded to questions.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MAHMOUD A. ElSOHLY, Ph.D., Director                                                                                             
Marijuana Program                                                                                                               
University of Mississippi                                                                                                       
Oxford, Mississippi                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  During discussion of HB 96, provided                                                                       
comments and responded to questions.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ED HARRINGTON, Captain, Commander                                                                                               
Alaska Bureau of Alcohol & Drug Enforcement                                                                                     
N Detachment                                                                                                                    
Division of State Troopers                                                                                                      
Department of Public Safety (DPS)                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  During discussion of HB 96, provided                                                                       
comments and responded to questions.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
AARON MATTLEY                                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 96 and SB 74.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   LESIL  McGUIRE   called  the   House  Judiciary   Standing                                                            
Committee  meeting  to  order  at  8:18:50  AM.    Representatives                                                            
McGuire   and  Gara   were   present  at   the   call  to   order.                                                              
Representatives  Anderson, Coghill,  Kott,  and Gruenberg  arrived                                                              
as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HB 96 - CRIMES INVOLVING MARIJUANA/OTHER DRUGS                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
[Contains mention  of opposition  to SB 74,  companion bill  to HB                                                              
96, and a comment regarding SB 56.]                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                              
HOUSE BILL NO.  96, "An Act making findings relating  to marijuana                                                              
use  and   possession;  relating   to  marijuana  and   misconduct                                                              
involving a controlled  substance; and providing  for an effective                                                              
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DAVID W. MURRAY,  M.A., Ph.D., Special Assistant  to the Director,                                                              
White  House  Office  of National  Drug  Control  Policy  (ONDCP),                                                              
said:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     I  have previously  weighed  in  with testimony  in  the                                                                   
     past  couple of  weeks, and  was going  to be  available                                                                   
     for questions  today. ... I just wanted  one opportunity                                                                   
     to respond  to one set of  questions that I  think might                                                                   
     still  be in  the air  regarding  marijuana potency  and                                                                   
     the  potential   impact  on  health,  with   the  recent                                                                   
     research  literature  we've seen  over  the last,  let's                                                                   
     say, five  years, increasing  our sense  of the risk  to                                                                   
     adults  as  well  [as],  particularly,   to  youth  from                                                                   
     exposure  to high potency  cannabis consumption  and the                                                                   
     predispositions  towards mental  health  impact, on  top                                                                   
     of the  regular concerns we've  had for some  time about                                                                   
     the  smoking  of this  substance  and  the  carcinogens,                                                                   
     tars,  and unhealthy  substances exposed  there and  the                                                                   
     behavioral  correlates  we've  already  seen  with  high                                                                   
     cannabis consumption  linked to a number  of pathologies                                                                   
     from    school    delinquency    to    criminality    to                                                                   
     "amotivational syndrome" and poor performance.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     In addition  to that, [there  is] ... recent  literature                                                                   
     on    risks    for    depression,     mental    illness,                                                                   
     schizophrenia,  and  the rest,  that  are showing  up  -                                                                   
     particularly  where there's  high exposure to  marijuana                                                                   
     and  a  predisposing  susceptibility  to  mental  health                                                                   
     episodes -  to [a] striking  conjunction of  events with                                                                   
     additional research  showing that marijuana  consumption                                                                   
     can be an  independent risk factor even in  those who do                                                                   
     not     have     predisposing      or     predisposition                                                                   
     vulnerabilities  for  mental  health  episodes.   It  is                                                                   
     linked  in  literature,  now,  to  triggering  even  the                                                                   
     onset of  these episodes.   So there's a lot  of warning                                                                   
     signs out there.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DR. MURRAY went on to say:                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     It has been  argued, I think on the part  of some who've                                                                   
     not attended  to the  most recent  data, that there  has                                                                   
     not been  a steep  change in the  potency of the  active                                                                   
     ingredient  in cannabis,  [tetrahydrocannabinol  (THC)],                                                                   
     the  intoxicating  ingredient,  but  I  think  that  our                                                                   
     research  records from  the National  Institute of  Drug                                                                   
     Abuse, based  upon analyses of samples since  1979, show                                                                   
     that   there's  been   a  fairly   steep  rise,   fairly                                                                   
     steadily,  up through the  1980s, when potency  probably                                                                   
     averaged  around [3.5]  to 4 percent  after rising  from                                                                   
     what  was  a  considerably   lower  potency  during  the                                                                   
     period  of  time that  we  sort  of associate  with  the                                                                   
     counter culture and the '60s and "Woodstock."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     So  by  the  mid-'80s,  you have  a  fairly  steep  rise                                                                   
     already  in the  [3.5] to  4  percent rate,  and then  I                                                                   
     think  the important  news  is  to acknowledge,  in  the                                                                   
     last 10  years alone -  that's basically since  the mid-                                                                   
     '90s until now  - we have seen another doubling  of that                                                                   
     potency rate,  so that by 2004, we see data  saying that                                                                   
     the  average  potency of  THC  -  that is  available  as                                                                   
     analyzed  by   seized  samples  of  marijuana   on  U.S.                                                                   
     streets - is  now exceeding 8 percent potency,  ... with                                                                   
     some  ranges up  to 25 to  30 percent  [that] have  been                                                                   
     found  in the  street scene  - it's unusual,  but it  is                                                                   
     there -   as well  as an increase  in the proportion  of                                                                   
     market share ... [of] high potency THC.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The percentage  of [marijuana with a] ...  potency above                                                                   
     8 or  9 percent is becoming  an increasing share  of the                                                                   
     available  market -  that  is, what  is  a young  person                                                                   
     likely  to  run  into  if   they're  purchasing  on  the                                                                   
     street.  Increasingly  it is no longer marijuana  in the                                                                   
     3-5 percent  range; proportionately, it  is increasingly                                                                   
     likely to  be marijuana above  the overall mean  average                                                                   
     of 8  percent - it is  likely to be very  high [potency]                                                                   
     indeed.   It  has  been argued  by  some, further,  that                                                                   
     this should  not be regarded as necessarily  translating                                                                   
     into greater  health risk, because it is possible  for -                                                                   
     and  they use  the  technical term,  titration  - ...  a                                                                   
     user  to   correspondingly  cut   back  on  the   volume                                                                   
     consumed  in proportion  to  the increased  exposure  to                                                                   
     the  highly potent  intoxicating element  of THC,  which                                                                   
     is,  after  all,  an  addictive  [substance]  that  does                                                                   
     produce withdrawal  syndromes as well as the  problem of                                                                   
     dependency.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:23:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. MURRAY continued:                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     My  impression is  that that  is not a  good case,  that                                                                   
     titration  is  in  fact  able to  explain  what  we  are                                                                   
     seeing.   It  is  not a  definitive  argument  - no  one                                                                   
     knows for sure.   In certain populations  of experienced                                                                   
     users,  perhaps it  is possible  that they  are in  fact                                                                   
     curtailing  the  shear volume  of  smoke ingested  as  a                                                                   
     function of how  much potency there is, but  that is not                                                                   
     ...  consistent  with  the  general  literature  we  see                                                                   
     here.   We have seen an  increase, over the  last decade                                                                   
     ... of the  rate of admissions for treatment  dependency                                                                   
     ... based  upon cannabis, ...  from 45 per  100,000 [to]                                                                   
     over  118 per 100,000.  ... That  suggests that  there's                                                                   
     some dynamic  in here  that is  leading to greater  risk                                                                   
     of  dependency  over the  last  10 years.    And, as  we                                                                   
     said, within  the last 10  years, we've seen  a doubling                                                                   
     of potency.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE  asked  for details  regarding  why  the  increased                                                              
percentage  of tetrahydrocannabinol  (THC) in  cannabis should  be                                                              
of concern.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DR. MURRAY  said that recent  literature increasingly  illustrates                                                              
the consequences  and pervasiveness  in the  brain and  the immune                                                              
system, in  the human system, of  cannabinoid receptors.   He went                                                              
on to explain that  THC is just one of a multitude  of cannabinoid                                                              
substances found  in typical marijuana smoke, which  also contains                                                              
a number  of  contaminants such  as carcinogens,  tars, and  other                                                              
substances.   Cannabidiol is  one of the  substances found  in the                                                              
intoxicating  element in  marijuana,  THC,  which was  discovered,                                                              
some  years ago,  to  bind to  receptors in  the  brain, and  this                                                              
binding explains  why people  experience  a "high" when  ingesting                                                              
the smoke  of marijuana.   However,  this raises  the question  of                                                              
why  would humans  have receptors  in  the brain  for a  substance                                                              
found in the smoke of what is essentially a wild weed.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DR. MURRAY  indicated that the supposition  is that there  must be                                                              
some endogenous  substance inside the  body that is  already meant                                                              
for  those  receptors; thus,  when  an  exogenous source  of  this                                                              
substance, such as  marijuana smoke, is introduced  into the body,                                                              
it will  attach to  and block the  corresponding receptors.   This                                                              
possibility  has engendered  research  aimed  at discovering  what                                                              
those  naturally occurring  endogenous  substances  are, and  this                                                              
research  has led to  the recognition  of two  different types  of                                                              
receptors  found in the  brain and  in the  immune system  - "CB1"                                                              
and  "CB2" -  that  are naturally  responsive  to  the body's  own                                                              
production  of a  chemical  [included  in a  group]  that are  now                                                              
called anandamides,  which are substances that should  properly be                                                              
binding  to  certain receptors,  and  is  chemically,  molecularly                                                              
similar enough  to cannabinoid  molecules that the  aforementioned                                                              
receptors accept the exogenous substance.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR.  MURRAY  said  that  developmentally,  humans  have  a  fairly                                                              
delicate  regulatory  system  that  affects the  human  brain  and                                                              
immune  system and  involves pain,  mood, and  a variety of  other                                                              
brain  and neural  system functions.   So  because cannabinoids  -                                                              
marijuana smoke  - can affect  this regulatory system,  caution is                                                              
in  order  because the  smoking  of  marijuana  may very  well  be                                                              
interfering  with the  natural regulation  of  a fairly  sensitive                                                              
system,  that it  may  trigger or  predispose  marijuana users  to                                                              
certain levels  of attachment,  since natural  anandamides  do not                                                              
bind  for long  -  they  bind fairly  quickly  and  then move  on.                                                              
Cannabinols,  on  the  other  hand,  bind  to  the  aforementioned                                                              
receptors for  a considerable period  of time, not  only producing                                                              
the  "high" but  engendering other  effects  as well.   Again,  he                                                              
remarked, this  suggests that caution  is in order because  of the                                                              
potential  long-range  impact,  in terms  of  neurophysiology  and                                                              
developmental  cycles,  that  early exposure  to  cannabinols  can                                                              
have on the brain's own regulatory system.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:28:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. MURRAY, in  response to a question, offered  his understanding                                                              
that  apparently   anandamides  are  involved  in   a  variety  of                                                              
functions.   Within  the brain and  the immune  system, there  are                                                              
certain  receptors  that are  "tuned"  to cannabidiol,  and  other                                                              
receptors  that  are  tuned  to  THC.   He  indicated  that  these                                                              
receptors influence  pain and mood; thus anandamides  - as well as                                                              
their exogenous  counterparts -  can produce, among  other things,                                                              
euphoric,  good-mood  feelings,   and  are  involved  in  appetite                                                              
regulation   and   inflammatory   responses.      The   scientific                                                              
community, he relayed,  is somewhat excited about  and is pursuing                                                              
the prospect that  there might be "proper scientific  and medical"                                                              
regulatory    investigations   that    could   produce    valuable                                                              
medications  without resorting  to "raw,  smoked, crude weed  that                                                              
[is] contaminated  with carcinogens in unknown quantities  and ...                                                              
dosages."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE  asked what is  known scientifically  about [adults]                                                              
who  used marijuana  as children;  for example,  have such  people                                                              
experienced changes in speech patterns or memory capacity.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR.  MURRAY  said emerging  research  shows  that changes  in  the                                                              
brain have occurred  as a result of addiction  and dependency, and                                                              
that  cannabis   consumption  produces  these  changes   as  well.                                                              
Noting that  Alaska's rate  of "past  year marijuana  consumption"                                                              
is the  highest in the  nation, he relayed  that in  observing the                                                              
behavior  of high-level,  frequent  marijuana users,  it has  been                                                              
determined that  memory and  cognitive performances  are affected,                                                              
and that "amotivational  syndrome" - [which is  characterized by a                                                              
decrease  in] the  willingness,  the eagerness,  and the  alacrity                                                              
with  which  one engages  in  tasks  and  performances -  is  also                                                              
present.  He went on to say:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     As the  years are going  by, we're discovering  more and                                                                   
     more  ...  what has  happened  in  the brain,  what  has                                                                   
     happened in  the personality,  what has happened  in the                                                                   
     emotional system  that is underpinning  these behavioral                                                                   
     changes  that we're  seeing.  ... Here  is a  suggestion                                                                   
     that  I think  is quite disturbing:   ...  we know  that                                                                   
     there  are populations  in  the United  States that  are                                                                   
     highly  vulnerable  to  cannabis use,  where  there  are                                                                   
     young  women  -  ages  16,  17,  18,  19  -  who  become                                                                   
     pregnant  [and]  who do  not  desist in  their  cannabis                                                                   
     use.   Now,  we've all  had [the]  tragic experience  of                                                                   
     learning  about fetal alcohol  syndrome [FAS] -  [caused                                                                   
     by] in  utero exposure to  the mother's drinking  - that                                                                   
     produces  lifetime  retardation  and  problems.    We've                                                                   
     already learned  to warn women not to  expose themselves                                                                   
     to lead  paint or  tobacco when  pregnant, because  this                                                                   
     has  an in  utero  impact.   We  are beginning  to  see,                                                                   
     likewise, in  populations of young women who  persist in                                                                   
     cannabis   smoking   ...,    [that]   this   is   having                                                                   
     developmental consequences  on the emerging  child, that                                                                   
     [such  children]  ...  are   going  to  [be]  born  with                                                                   
     vulnerabilities,     predispositions,     risks,     and                                                                   
     developmental  problems.   Increasingly  we're  starting                                                                   
     to  see those  triggers  in there,  and  it's a  warning                                                                   
     sign that we've  been running an experiment  on the next                                                                   
     generation  ...  by  the early-  and  youth-exposure  to                                                                   
     increasingly  high potency marijuana,  that ...  [it] is                                                                   
     having  consequences that we  are carefully  uncovering,                                                                   
     year by  year, that are  deeper and more pervasive  than                                                                   
     we realized.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:34:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  asked which of all the conditions  Dr. Murray                                                              
has  discussed  have  peer-reviewed  evidence  substantiating  the                                                              
link  between the  condition and  marijuana  use.   He also  asked                                                              
whether there have  been any comparison studies  between women who                                                              
drink alcohol while  pregnant and women who smoke  marijuana while                                                              
pregnant.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR.  MURRAY, referring  to  the  second question,  indicated  that                                                              
there is not  yet a scientific basis  for saying that  one type of                                                              
behavior is worse  for the fetus than the other  type of behavior,                                                              
but  posited   that  ongoing  research  will   instead  eventually                                                              
illustrate  that  both have  consequences.    With regard  to  the                                                              
first  question,  he  assured  the  committee  that  each  of  the                                                              
conditions  he  alluded  to -  behavioral  issues,  cognitive  and                                                              
memory issues,  and mental  health issues -  and can be  backed up                                                              
with peer-reviewed  formal  publications and  citations.   What is                                                              
still  emerging  from  the  ongoing research  is  the  degree  and                                                              
pervasiveness of  the problems and  risks, but those  problems and                                                              
risks  are  already well  known  and  well documented.    Emerging                                                              
research,  he  added,  is showing  that  cannabis  consumption  is                                                              
unusually  risky   for  young  people  in  terms   of  dependency,                                                              
addiction, withdrawal,  and the likelihood of dependency  on other                                                              
substances  later  in life,  and  is  showing that  the  increased                                                              
potency  is accelerating  the aforementioned  risks,  particularly                                                              
for those with  a disposition towards mental illnesses  - cannabis                                                              
is a  trigger for  one out of  every nine  persons.  He  indicated                                                              
that ongoing  research is  providing troubling  new warning  signs                                                              
regarding cannabis consumption.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:38:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. MURRAY,  in response  to a question,  said that  when analyses                                                              
of potency are  performed, market shares of low,  medium, and high                                                              
potency marijuana are  averaged to get to a mean,  and that number                                                              
has been  increasing steeply,  doubling in the  last 10  years, up                                                              
to 8  percent.  However,  the volume  of higher potency  marijuana                                                              
that can  be found on  the streets has  also been increasing,  and                                                              
this will, over time, result in a higher mean.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE asked  Dr. Murray for backup material  regarding the                                                              
increase in marijuana potency.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DR. MURRAY,  in conclusion,  offered  that in  the last 10  years,                                                              
there has  been a  nearly 200  percent increase  in the  number of                                                              
emergency  room  admissions/mentions  attributable  to  marijuana,                                                              
and suggested that this correlates with the rise in potency.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA asked  that any statistics  offered,  such as                                                              
the    aforementioned   statistic    regarding   emergency    room                                                              
admissions,  be presented  as  comparisons  between marijuana  use                                                              
and alcohol use.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:42:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEAN  J.   GUANELI,  Chief   Assistant  Attorney  General,   Legal                                                              
Services  Section-Juneau,  Criminal  Division, Department  of  Law                                                              
(DOL), said  marijuana is an  important topic because  of evidence                                                              
that has  come to light  in the last  several years  regarding the                                                              
increase in  marijuana potency.   He  mentioned that others  would                                                              
be speaking  on issues such as  marijuana potency, how  the Alaska                                                              
State  Troopers  are dealing  with  marijuana,  surveys  regarding                                                              
marijuana use,  and how marijuana  addiction ties in  with alcohol                                                              
addiction.   He noted  that the  legislature hasn't discussed  the                                                              
issue of marijuana  - with the exception of the  debate on medical                                                              
marijuana -  in over 20  years, when the  Ravin v.  State decision                                                            
came  out,  and  assured  the committee  that  HB  96  doesn't  do                                                              
anything to the medical marijuana laws currently in effect.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI offered  his view that although the  Ravin decision is                                                            
much maligned in  some circles, it had two important  aspects, one                                                              
being the  way in  which the law  was analyzed by  the court  - it                                                              
involved  a balancing  between a  constitutional law  and a  state                                                              
interest  - and which  has since  become imbedded  in Alaska  law,                                                              
and  the  other  being  the  application   of  the  aforementioned                                                              
balancing to  the facts  that were before  the court,  facts which                                                              
were a product of  that era, the [early] 1970s, both  because of a                                                              
1972  case  and   the  scientific  research  available   in  1973.                                                              
Referring  to the  last  point,  he offered  his  belief that  any                                                              
future supreme  court case  regarding marijuana  will be  heard in                                                              
the  context of  the  new facts  arising out  of  the most  recent                                                              
research.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GUANELI relayed  that the  court  in Ravin  said, "Few  would                                                            
believe  they  have   been  deprived  of  something   of  critical                                                              
importance  if deprived  of  marijuana" -  adding  that he  agrees                                                              
with  that point  -  and also  said,  "The experts  who  testified                                                              
below,   including   petitioner's  witnesses,   were   unanimously                                                              
opposed  to  the  use  of  any   psychoactive  drugs.    We  agree                                                              
completely."   He noted that  at recent Senate committee  hearings                                                              
on  the  companion  bill  to  HB   96,  "experts"  testified  that                                                              
[marijuana] is not a completely harmless substance.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:48:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI, in  response to a question, clarified  that in Ravin,                                                            
the court found  that the state had not shown that  marijuana - as                                                              
existed  in Alaska  in  that era  -  was sufficiently  harmful  to                                                              
warrant  the prohibition  of  its  usage by  adults  in their  own                                                              
homes.   What  is critical,  he proffered,  is that  the court  in                                                              
Ravin said, "Most  marijuana available in the United  States has a                                                            
THC  content of  less than  one  percent."   This is  particularly                                                              
important, he added,  when taking into consideration  Dr. Murray's                                                              
testimony  regarding  the current  increase  in potency,  and  the                                                              
fact that  the potency  of the  marijuana available  in Alaska  is                                                              
much  higher,  on average,  than  the  potency  of that  which  is                                                              
available in  the rest of  the United States.   He noted  that the                                                              
court, in Ravin, also said:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     We recognize  that more  potent forms  of cannabis  than                                                                   
     marijuana are  commonly used in other countries  and are                                                                   
     available  on a limited  scale here.   However,  studies                                                                   
     of  use  patterns   here  do  not  indicate   any  great                                                                   
     likelihood  of a significant  shift in  use here  to the                                                                   
     more  potent  substances.    If such  a  shift  were  to                                                                   
     occur, then  marijuana use  could be characterized  as a                                                                   
     serious health problem.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI opined  that this latter statement is  important for a                                                              
couple  of  reasons,  one  being  that even  in  1975,  the  court                                                              
acknowledged that  use of the more  potent forms of  marijuana, as                                                              
well as  long-term use,  had significant effects  on health.   But                                                              
because the  court, at that  time, also  found that such  types of                                                              
marijuana were  not available  in Alaska,  it determined  that the                                                              
use of  marijuana  by adults  in their  own homes  did not pose  a                                                              
serious health problem.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:50:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GARA  said   he   is  interested   in   receiving                                                              
information which  illustrates that marijuana use  is more harmful                                                              
than alcohol use, which has not been banned by the court.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI  pointed out, however,  that the court  has determined                                                              
and upheld  that the  state and  municipalities certainly  do have                                                              
the right to ban  alcohol.  He remarked that  although alcohol use                                                              
in Alaska constitutes  a terrible problem, the court  is not going                                                              
to  use the  same legal  standard  it applies  to  alcohol use  to                                                              
measure any  other substance  before allowing  the legislature  to                                                              
regulate it.   Notwithstanding  this, he  offered his  belief that                                                              
alcohol  use and marijuana  use  are linked,  that [the state  is]                                                              
not going  to be able to  get a handle  on the alcohol  problem in                                                              
Alaska  unless it also  gets a  handle on  the marijuana  problem,                                                              
since  marijuana  is  often  the   secondary  drug  of  abuse  for                                                              
Alaska's  alcoholics, particularly  those who  are Alaska  Native.                                                              
Thus, having  the courts say  it is okay  to have another  type of                                                              
drug in  one's house  that one can  abuse will  only make  it move                                                              
difficult treat alcoholism.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE  offered  her  understanding   that  those  seeking                                                              
treatment  for an  addiction are  precluded from  naltrexone-based                                                              
treatment programs if they are using marijuana or opiates.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:54:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  suggested that for him the  question becomes,                                                              
if they  are not making  someone a felon  for using  alcohol, then                                                              
why should they make someone a felon for using marijuana.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI  pointed  out, however,  that HB  96 does not  address                                                              
the issue  of marijuana  use; rather, it  addresses the  issues of                                                              
marijuana possession and marijuana delivery.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE  surmised, then,  that by having  the bill  focus on                                                              
possession  and  delivery  issues,  the  state is  trying  to  get                                                              
around  the  [problem  arising  from  the  2003  Alaska  Court  of                                                              
Appeals  case,  Noy  v.  State   of  Alaska].    She  offered  her                                                            
recollection  of  a  case  in  which  the  judge  ruled  that  the                                                              
admission  of  evidence showing  that  there  was marijuana  in  a                                                              
vehicle  involved  in an  accident  would  be prejudicial  to  the                                                              
driver.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GUANELI, in  further response  to  Representative Gara,  said                                                              
the bill  would make marijuana  possession a crime,  regardless of                                                              
where it is possessed,  but would not make marijuana  use a crime.                                                              
He added, "Whether  you possess it in your home  or anywhere else,                                                              
the  voters  in Alaska,  in  1990,  made possession  of  marijuana                                                              
anywhere in the  state an offense; it is the courts  that have put                                                              
limits on  effecting the voters'  will."   He relayed that  in the                                                              
Ravin decision,  the court  also said:   "The National  Commission                                                            
rejected the  notion that marijuana  is physically addicting.   It                                                              
also rejected  the  notion that  marijuana as  used in the  United                                                              
States   today   presents   a    significant   risk   of   causing                                                              
psychological dependency in the user."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GUANELI said  that notwithstanding  these  statements by  the                                                              
court in  1975, the  very fact that  there is now  a group  in the                                                              
United States  called Marijuana  Anonymous  indicates to  him that                                                              
the  facts the  court  had before  it  in 1975  are  significantly                                                              
different than the facts that are available today.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:58:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GARA  said  he   doesn't  accept  Mr.   Guaneli's                                                              
explanation.   He said  that although he  agrees that  dealing and                                                              
manufacturing  drugs  and  possessing  them  with  the  intent  to                                                              
deliver  is terrible  behavior that  should  be criminalized,  his                                                              
question  is  whether  the  bill  criminalizes  someone  who  uses                                                              
marijuana in  his/her own  home.  What  is the difference  between                                                              
possession  of  marijuana   for  use  in  one's  own   home  -  if                                                              
possession of marijuana  anywhere is being criminalized  - and use                                                              
of  marijuana  in  one's own  home?    How  is it  that  the  bill                                                              
purportedly won't criminalize use?                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GUANELI said  that  the  term "use"  to  him  means that  the                                                              
marijuana has  already been consumed,  whereas the  term "possess"                                                              
means that the  marijuana is accessible to children,  for example.                                                              
Children  in Alaska  are using  marijuana  at a  much higher  rate                                                              
than they used  to, and many of  them say that they can  get it at                                                              
home; thus  possessing marijuana  in the  home, particularly  when                                                              
it is of  the potency described  by Dr. Murray, is a  problem that                                                              
needs to be addressed, Mr. Guaneli opined.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:00:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE  - noting  that  [Section 2]  of  the  bill is  the                                                              
findings  section,  that  [Section   3]  addresses  the  crime  of                                                              
misconduct involving  a controlled  substance in the  third degree                                                              
by  changing  "19  years  of  age" to  "21  years  of  age",  that                                                              
[Section  4]  addresses  the  crime   of  misconduct  involving  a                                                              
controlled  substance  in  the   fourth  degree  by  lowering  the                                                              
amount, from  "one pound", to "four  ounces" - asked what  part of                                                              
the bill addresses issues raised by Noy.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI referred  to page 7, lines 19-21.   He reiterated that                                                              
it is  already against  the law  in Alaska to  have any  amount of                                                              
marijuana,  regardless of  location, and  offered his belief  that                                                              
the  debate between  he  and Representative  Gara  centers on  the                                                              
findings  outlined  in the  bill.   If  the legislature,  via  the                                                              
bill, makes all  of those findings, and if the  court then upholds                                                              
all of  them, then  the court will  say that  the laws  which have                                                              
been   enacted  by   the  legislature   are  constitutional,   can                                                              
therefore  be  enforced, and  that  there  is a  legitimate  state                                                              
interest  in doing so.   He  posited that  the question  is really                                                              
whether  the current  laws regarding  marijuana  can be  enforced,                                                              
and  suggested that  the  various court  opinions  that have  come                                                              
forth over the years have caused confusion.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA said  he agrees  that people  who make  drugs                                                              
available to children  should be penalized; however,  the language                                                              
on page 7,  lines 19-21, appears  to criminalize a person  who has                                                              
marijuana in  his/her home  for his/her own  personal use  even if                                                              
there aren't any children living there.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GUANELI  relayed  that in  the  Noy  case,  a search  of  the                                                            
defendant's  house during a  barbeque party  revealed that  he had                                                              
marijuana all  over his  house; in other  words, the  friends he'd                                                              
invited over, as  well as their children, did have  access to that                                                              
marijuana.   So  one  can  debate whether  a  person  ought to  be                                                              
allowed to  have marijuana  in his/her home,  but the  bottom line                                                              
is that kids are  going to get it, and so if  the legislature says                                                              
that  it's okay  to have  marijuana  in the  home,  then kids  are                                                              
going think that  it's okay for them to have it.   The voters have                                                              
already said  that it is not okay  to have marijuana in  one's own                                                              
home because  doing  so causes problems;  thus  he does not  think                                                              
it's right  to argue  that having  marijuana  in one's home  won't                                                              
cause problems, he added.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:07:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CRISTY  WILLER,  Deputy  Director,  Central  Office,  Division  Of                                                              
Behavioral  Health,  Department  of  Health  and  Social  Services                                                              
(DHSS), after  noting that  she used to  run the drug  and alcohol                                                              
treatment  program for  the Bristol  Bay  Area Health  Corporation                                                              
(BBAHC),  said   she  has  firsthand  knowledge   of  the  effects                                                              
marijuana has on  rural areas of the state.   Referring to earlier                                                              
testimony  regarding the  increase in  THC levels,  she said  that                                                              
what this  increase means  for those  who are treatment  providers                                                              
is  that marijuana  has become  a  much more  dangerous drug  that                                                              
people are  using and abusing,  and is  no longer the  benign drug                                                              
of  peace and  love  that was  used  in the  '60s.   Instead,  the                                                              
increase in potency  is pushing casual users,  recreational users,                                                              
into patterns of abuse and dependency.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILLER  said  that  although  the  Journal  of  the  American                                                            
Medical   Association   (JAMA)   reports   that   marijuana   use,                                                            
nationally,  over  the past  ten  years,  has remained  about  the                                                              
same,  it also  reports that  the  rates of  abuse and  dependence                                                              
among  marijuana  users has  increased  dramatically.   She  noted                                                              
that there  are now 29 states  and five other countries  that have                                                              
chapters  of Marijuana  Anonymous.   She  surmised  that a  likely                                                              
reason  that  marijuana  users   are  becoming  problem  users  is                                                              
because the drug is now stronger, particularly in Alaska.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:10:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE asked how "abuse" is defined.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILLER  said that  according  to the DSM-IV  - the  Diagnostic                                                              
and Statistical  Manual of  Mental Disorders,  Fourth Edition  - a                                                              
diagnosis of  cannabis dependency  requires three  or more  of the                                                              
following  characteristics/behaviors:   tolerance  to  the drug  -                                                              
one  must  consume  more  to  get  the  same  effects;  withdrawal                                                              
symptoms  [when quitting];  significant time  spent acquiring  and                                                              
using;  interference  with  family,  work, or  recreation;  and  a                                                              
person's  persistence  of  use despite  the  presence  of  obvious                                                              
physiological, physical,  or psychological effects.   In contrast,                                                              
a diagnosis  of abuse would  require the  presence of one  or more                                                              
of  the following  problems:   interference  with  work or  school                                                              
performance;  use  while doing  something  potentially  physically                                                              
hazardous -  such as driving;  legal problems; and  arguments with                                                              
family members.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:13:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GARA  asked   what  the   lingering  effects   of                                                              
marijuana dependency  are in those  who stop using, and  how those                                                              
effects would be treated.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILLER said  that  withdrawal  symptoms can  include  shakes;                                                              
sleeplessness; irritability;  feeling like one must  use the drug,                                                              
or  must  use  more  and  more of  the  drug,  in  order  to  feel                                                              
"normal"; and  not performing  work or schoolwork  as well  as one                                                              
might  have done  in  the past  while under  the  influence.   The                                                              
latter symptom  is a result of  a person's comfort  level becoming                                                              
situated  in the  hands  of  the drug,  just  as happens  with  an                                                              
alcoholic,   and   since   the   acute   symptoms   of   marijuana                                                              
intoxication  are  no  longer present,  a  person's  attention  is                                                              
focused on trying to get high again.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA asked  whether  marijuana  dependence is  the                                                              
same  as addiction,  or whether  it  has been  established that  a                                                              
certain level of marijuana use will result in addiction.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:16:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILLER  suggested that the  term "addiction" is  a non-medical                                                              
term  that   is  sometimes   used  synonymously   with  the   term                                                              
"dependence," adding  that she doesn't  think that the  DSM-IV has                                                              
a category for "marijuana addiction."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  asked Ms. Willer  how many adults  she has                                                              
admitted to treatment for marijuana use.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILLER  said that  34 percent of  those admitted  into public,                                                              
substance-abuse  treatment programs are  treated for a  primary or                                                              
a  secondary  cannabis  abuse or  cannabis  dependence  diagnosis.                                                              
She said that  a primary dependence diagnosis  means that cannabis                                                              
is presenting  the foremost primary  problem, whereas  a secondary                                                              
dependence  diagnosis means  that  cannabis is  secondary to  some                                                              
other  substance,   often  alcohol.     Alcoholism   and  cannabis                                                              
addiction are not  mutually exclusive; they often go  hand in hand                                                              
with one another.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  asked Ms.  Willer  whether  she has  ever                                                              
treated someone just for marijuana dependence.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILLER said  she has,  particularly  younger clients,  though                                                              
having someone present  just a marijuana dependence  is rare.  She                                                              
indicated that she  would be offering more testimony  later in the                                                              
meeting.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:20:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAHMOUD   A.   ElSOHLY,  Ph.D.,   Director,   Marijuana   Program,                                                              
University of Mississippi,  relayed that the Marijuana  Program is                                                              
funded by  the National Institute  on Drug Abuse (NIDA),  and that                                                              
the Marijuana  Program analyzes  marijuana  samples seized  by the                                                              
U.S.  Drug   Enforcement  Administration   (DEA)  and   local  law                                                              
enforcement agencies.   Over the years, since the  late 1960s, the                                                              
Marijuana Program  has monitored  the average  level of  THC found                                                              
in  confiscated  marijuana.    He  mentioned  that  he'd  prepared                                                              
statistics regarding  all the samples  received from  Alaska since                                                              
1976;  that he'd  provided  those statistics  to  [the DOL];  that                                                              
those statistics  include a  breakdown by  the number  of samples,                                                              
the average  potency, and  the year; and  that he [could]  provide                                                              
statistics regarding the average potency nationwide.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DR. ElSOHLY noted,  however, that during the years  prior to 1985,                                                              
only  a  few   samples  were  received  each  year   from  Alaska,                                                              
sometimes just one  or two samples a year, but  those numbers have                                                              
increased since  then.  In looking  at the data gathered  from the                                                              
late 1980s  on, the  average THC  content in  Alaska has  not been                                                              
less  than 6  percent, and  has sometimes  been as  high as  10-12                                                              
percent, though  in 2003 the  average went  as high as  14 percent                                                              
and involved  18 samples.   He also  mentioned that  the Marijuana                                                              
Project does not  yet have all the data for 2004  analyzed, but so                                                              
far the one  sample that has been  analyzed had a potency  of over                                                              
12  percent.     In  response  to  questions,   he  described  the                                                              
different processes/methods  one can  use to increase  the potency                                                              
of marijuana.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:29:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  ElSOHLY  in response  to  further  questions, said  that  the                                                              
potency  of  marijuana  is  dependent  on  its  THC  content,  and                                                              
mentioned  that   one  of  the   dangers  in  smoking   marijuana,                                                              
particularly  high potency marijuana,  is that  there is  a little                                                              
bit  of a  delay between  smoking  the marijuana  and feeling  its                                                              
effects, and so  one could easily give one's self  too high a dose                                                              
and not  realize it until  too late.   He mentioned  that although                                                              
an  experienced marijuana  user  might be  able to  titrate a  bit                                                              
better  than  an  inexperienced  user, the  latter  could  end  up                                                              
overdosing  himself/herself without  knowing what  to expect.   He                                                              
explained  that THC  has a biphasic  effect,  meaning that  a high                                                              
dose  has the  opposite effect  of a  small dose;  for example,  a                                                              
small dose  might result in feelings  of euphoria, whereas  a high                                                              
dose  could result  in  feelings  of paranoia.    So high  potency                                                              
marijuana in  the hands of an  inexperienced user could  result in                                                              
that user not experiencing the results he/she anticipated.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR.  ElSOHLY,  in  response  to  more  questions,  said  that  the                                                              
highest  level of  the effects  a  person will  feel from  smoking                                                              
marijuana   will   be   felt   within   10   minutes,   and   that                                                              
theoretically,  one  could  simply  use  less  of  higher  potency                                                              
marijuana.   The  problem,  again, however,  is  that one  doesn't                                                              
necessarily know  how potent any  given bit of marijuana  is, that                                                              
it takes  a bit of time  for the effects  to be felt, and  so once                                                              
the marijuana  is consumed,  it is too  late to alter  the dosage.                                                              
He offered  his belief that at  least with alcohol, one  can smell                                                              
a particular  type of alcohol and  get a rough idea of  how strong                                                              
a drink will be.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:36:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL raised the issue of measuring THC levels.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR. ElSOHLY  said that the  level of THC  in the bloodstream  will                                                              
be  proportionate  to  the  THC level  in  the  marijuana  itself,                                                              
though how  much THC  actually gets into  the bloodstream  will be                                                              
dependant  on how  a  person smokes  the  marijuana  and how  long                                                              
he/she holds the  smoke in his/her lungs.  In  response to another                                                              
question, he  offered his  opinion that  the different  methods of                                                              
and  devices  for  smoking  marijuana are  all  equally  bad;  the                                                              
method/device  a  person  uses   is  just  a  matter  of  personal                                                              
preference.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DR. ElSOHLY,  with  regard to the  issue of  potency, offered  his                                                              
guess that  the average potency  of marijuana nationwide  for 2004                                                              
will be around 7  percent, but noted that one set  of samples used                                                              
in  the data  he  provided  are  domestic varieties,  whereas  the                                                              
other set of  samples is presumed to come from  foreign countries.                                                              
The THC levels in  the domestic samples from the  rest of the U.S.                                                              
average  4 percent,  but  Alaska's domestically  produced  samples                                                              
have a THC  level that is  much higher than the  national average.                                                              
He suggested  that the  increase in THC  levels nationwide  is the                                                              
result  of an  increase in  the  amount of  marijuana seized  that                                                              
originated in foreign countries.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:41:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON  asked Dr. ElSohly to state  what he feels                                                              
to be the three worst effects of marijuana.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DR.  ElSOHLY  said  it would  be  dependency,  [deterioration  of]                                                              
health and performance,  and increases in the number  of emergency                                                              
room visits by 12-17  year olds.  He also spoke  of "amotivational                                                              
syndrome,"   antisocial   behavior,   and  the   negative   impact                                                              
marijuana  consumption has  regarding the  operation of  machinery                                                              
or motor  vehicles.  In response  to a further  question regarding                                                              
statistics  specific  to  Alaska,  he  reiterated  that  they  are                                                              
contained  in the  information he  provided, and  again offered  a                                                              
brief description of what they entailed.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:45:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILLER,  continuing  with   her  testimony,  emphasized  that                                                              
trivializing  or  underestimating  the  negative  consequences  of                                                              
marijuana   use  affects   the  attitudes   regarding  the   risks                                                              
associated  with  marijuana use,  which  can  in turn  affect  the                                                              
attitudes that children  have regarding marijuana use.   She noted                                                              
that there  are statistics  available indicating  that the  age of                                                              
first  use in  children is  associated  with parental  use in  the                                                              
home.  The age  at which a person first uses  marijuana has severe                                                              
consequences;  the younger a  person is  when he/she starts  using                                                              
marijuana  - for  example, if  one starts  using marijuana  before                                                              
the age of 15  - the more likely he/she is to  become dependant on                                                              
marijuana  or to use  stronger drugs  such as  heroin and  cocaine                                                              
when he/she is older.   Such children are less  likely to graduate                                                              
[from high school],  are more likely to be involved  in delinquent                                                              
behaviors, and are more likely to have multiple sexual partners.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILLER  relayed that according  to studies, one in  eight high                                                              
school  students in  Alaska reported  using  marijuana before  the                                                              
age  of  13,  and  over  10  percent  of  middle  school  students                                                              
reported using marijuana  before the age of 11.   This illustrates                                                              
that there is a  risk in Alaska that people will  use marijuana at                                                              
a young  age, and this  risk is even  higher for Alaska  Natives -                                                              
Native children use  marijuana at a rate of 69.7  percent, whereas                                                              
non-Native  children use  marijuana  at a  rate  of 41.2  percent.                                                              
She said  that although she would  agree that alcohol  and tobacco                                                              
are more harmful  than marijuana, adding marijuana to  the list of                                                              
substances  that  one  abuses  simply   increases  the  number  of                                                              
substances that one has to struggle with.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILLER  relayed that  many  of  those seeking  treatment  for                                                              
alcohol abuse  were of the opinion  that marijuana use  is benign,                                                              
that  it is  a "free"  way to  get high  without encountering  the                                                              
consequences  associated   with  alcohol  use.     Thus  many  who                                                              
attempted  to stop  drinking would  do so by  getting stoned,  but                                                              
this  would then  lead  back  to alcohol  use.   In  summary,  she                                                              
remarked:    "Marijuana  today  is  stronger  than  it  ever  was,                                                              
leading  to more  dependence and  abuse.   Kids are  trying it  at                                                              
younger  ages,  particularly  because  it's  accessible  in  their                                                              
homes and  because we  tend to think  of it as  not a  risky drug.                                                              
And  these issues  are  hitting  our most  vulnerable  populations                                                              
hardest."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILLER, in  response to questions, said that  a national study                                                              
conducted in  2003 regarding marijuana  use by children  indicated                                                              
that 48 percent  of those who used marijuana  reported getting the                                                              
marijuana from their own homes.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE  asked Ms.  Willer  to  consider including  such  a                                                              
question in any forthcoming study conducted in Alaska.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILLER characterized that as a good idea.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   McGUIRE  surmised   that  such   information  would   help                                                              
determine where a legitimate government interest fits in.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:50:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ED  HARRINGTON, Captain,  Commander,  Alaska Bureau  of Alcohol  &                                                              
Drug  Enforcement,  N  Detachment,  Division  of  State  Troopers,                                                              
Department of Public  Safety (DPS), after detailing  the positions                                                              
he's  held  over  the  years  and   his  current  duties,  offered                                                              
examples  of  cases wherein  children  had  been taught  to  smoke                                                              
marijuana  by  those  living  in  their homes.    With  regard  to                                                              
marijuana  grows,  he said  that  although  there are  small  grow                                                              
sites  out  there,  they  are  rarely  found  by  his  unit;  more                                                              
typically what  is found by his  unit are large  commercial grows.                                                              
He went  on to  detail the  methods of  growing and the  equipment                                                              
used at those sites.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CAPTAIN  HARRINGTON  referred  to the  misperception  that  people                                                              
have been  sent to  jail for growing  small amounts  of marijuana,                                                              
and  pointed out  that is  very difficult  to even  get much  jail                                                              
time for  those convicted of  growing large amounts  of marijuana.                                                              
For example,  a case involving a  grow of 86 plants  was dismissed                                                              
simply because  of the caseload  level.  Additionally,  those that                                                              
are  convicted for  commercial  grows  are [sometimes]  awarded  a                                                              
Suspended  Imposition  of  Sentence  (SIS) or  only  minimal  jail                                                              
time; once released,  such individuals can often  be found growing                                                              
marijuana again  at the same  locations their original  grows were                                                              
discovered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE  asked  whether   the  lack  of  prosecution  is  a                                                              
reflection of the societal attitude in Alaska.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CAPTAIN HARRINGTON  opined  that it is.   He  pointed out  that if                                                              
the  marijuana grow  reaches the  federal  threshold, more  severe                                                              
penalties become  available.  In  response to a further  question,                                                              
he  offered his  belief that  those involved  in commercial  grows                                                              
are sophisticated  enough to keep their enterprises  below certain                                                              
sizes.    He  then  went  on  to   detail  his  unit's  experience                                                              
regarding what various  quantities of marijuana can  be bought for                                                              
on the  street in different  areas of  the state, concluding  that                                                              
selling marijuana is a lucrative business.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:58:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GARA,   observing   that  there   aren't   enough                                                              
resources  currently to prosecute  various  crimes - for  example,                                                              
sexual assault crimes  - asked how the adoption HB  96 will result                                                              
in something other than more unprosecuted cases.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CAPTAIN  HARRINGTON  acknowledged that  part  of  the solution  to                                                              
Alaska's  marijuana   problem  will  be  to   enhance  prosecution                                                              
efforts  and  make  penalties  more  severe  for  those  that  are                                                              
growing and selling marijuana on a commercial basis.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  said it  seems  that  the issue  of  growing                                                              
marijuana   commercially   is   much  more   serious   than   mere                                                              
possession, and suggested  that perhaps they should  just focus on                                                              
the "grower" issue.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CAPTAIN HARRINGTON  noted that  a commercial  grow can  consist of                                                              
anywhere from 5  to 2,000 plants, and even small  commercial grows                                                              
need  to  be  addressed.    Part  of  the  problem  in  addressing                                                              
commercial  growers,  however,  comes  as  a result  of  the  2004                                                              
Alaska Court  of Appeals case, Crocker  v. State of  Alaska, which                                                            
referenced  the Noy decision  and which  requires law  enforcement                                                            
officers to  specify that they know  that there is more  than four                                                              
ounces  of marijuana  being grown  in a particular  location.   He                                                              
posited that  this higher standard  has resulted in  lower numbers                                                              
of  marijuana  plants  being  eradicated   in  recent  years;  for                                                              
example,  in 1999, 14,600  marijuana plants  were eradicated,  but                                                              
in 2003, only 5,200 marijuana plants were eradicated.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   ANDERSON  posited   that  the   idea  is   to  be                                                              
consistent regarding all drug use.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CAPTAIN HARRINGTON concurred.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:04:05 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
AARON MATTLEY offered the following comments:                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     I'm  a registered  voter,  and I'm  a  marijuana user  -                                                                   
     [I've] used it  for eight years.  During  this time I've                                                                   
     excelled  in  a  lot  of  aspects  in  life  [including]                                                                   
     college  sports  -  varsity  cross-country  and  varsity                                                                   
     soccer.     I'm  not   saying  [marijuana]   ...  is   a                                                                   
     performance  enhancer,  but I  am saying  [it's]  simply                                                                   
     managed, in  one's life, according  to one's goals.   My                                                                   
     fastest  time  in cross-country  was  five miles  in  28                                                                   
     minutes  and  30  seconds.    I've  climbed  14,000-foot                                                                   
     peaks  - I know  [Mount] Denali  guides that partake  in                                                                   
     cannabis.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     I'm   a   former   president  of   [a]   college   music                                                                   
     organization  that   was  featured  at   my  [university                                                                   
     president's]  dinner.    I   have  a  design  patent  in                                                                   
     process.   I'm a  woodcrafter.  I'm  an outdoorsman.   I                                                                   
     have three music  CDs I've released and  one independent                                                                   
     film  that can  be ordered  at  www.groovyfilms.biz.   I                                                                   
     have  a steady  lady friend  of two years  who does  not                                                                   
     smoke   pot.  ...  I   have  my   bachelors  degree   in                                                                   
     professional  accounting;   I  currently  work  for  the                                                                   
     State   of  Alaska   as  a   junior   auditor  in   [the                                                                   
     Legislative Audit  Division, Alaska State  Legislature],                                                                   
     but ... I am here representing myself. ...                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     It  is costing  me money  to be  here right  now, and  I                                                                   
     think  that democracy  is weakened when  people have  to                                                                   
     decide  between participating  in  a democratic  process                                                                   
     or paying for  rent and putting food on the  table.  I'm                                                                   
     fortunate  enough that  I can  make the  sacrifice.   My                                                                   
     expertise  credentials root  from my direct  involvement                                                                   
     with  the  cannabis culture  in  the  Lower 48  and  the                                                                   
     great  [state  of Alaska]  -  a  culture that  has  been                                                                   
     demonized  by government propaganda.   I, like  everyone                                                                   
     here at  the table,  am for  regulation of marijuana  in                                                                   
     order to  keep children under  the age of 18  from using                                                                   
     it  and adults  under [the  age  of] 21  from using  it.                                                                   
     Let's regulate it.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. MATTLEY went on to say:                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     However,  I am  strongly opposed  to  HB 96  and SB  74.                                                                   
     These bills  are not about  keeping marijuana  away from                                                                   
     children or  increasing the  wellness of society.   They                                                                   
     only  create  disharmony  and  are part  of  an  ongoing                                                                   
     effort  to oppress  a natural  resource that  undermines                                                                   
     "Big Money"  and special interests - i.e.  fossil fuels,                                                                   
     timber,  petrochemicals   using  nylon,   and  oil-based                                                                   
     products  such as plastic,  [and] pesticide  consumption                                                                   
     by  genetically engineered  food  companies with  10,000                                                                   
     seed  patents.    There  is more  money  being  made  in                                                                   
     pretending  that  we're  stopping   marijuana  use  than                                                                   
     there  is selling  it; quick  example:   myself and  two                                                                   
     friends were fined over $3,500 for a $35-bag of weed.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Plus,   there  are   privatized   prisons  knocking   on                                                                   
     Alaska's  door  for  the per  prisoner  revenue  amount,                                                                   
     while  Senate  Bill  56  gives  judges  the  ability  to                                                                   
     increase felony  sentencing - i.e. nonviolent  marijuana                                                                   
     activists.   [Again], There is more money  being made in                                                                   
     pretending  that  you're  stopping   it  than  there  is                                                                   
     selling.   Shame on the  political fuel of  these bills.                                                                   
     All the information  and research needed to  support the                                                                   
     legalization  of marijuana  has  already been  presented                                                                   
     countless   times   before  despite   independent,   un-                                                                   
     marginalized  research  being barred  from  universities                                                                   
     as  federal governments  produce  propaganda from  White                                                                   
     House  experts -  ... yeah,  they contract  universities                                                                   
     to produce  research but,  again, it's contracted,  it's                                                                   
     very marginalized. ...                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     There  is so ...  much research  out there that  already                                                                   
     supports the  legalization of marijuana,  and regulation                                                                   
     of it,  that the  burden of proof  actually lies  on the                                                                   
     proponents of  these desecrated bills.  The  facts stand                                                                   
     why  marijuana  should  be legalized,  and  let's  start                                                                   
     with a  patriotic one:   'Benjamin Franklin  started one                                                                   
     of  America's first  paper  mills with  cannabis.   This                                                                   
     allowed America  to have a  free colonial press  without                                                                   
     having  to   beg  or  justify   paper  and   books  from                                                                   
     England.'  You  can find all this in a book  I'm quoting                                                                   
     - it's called,  The Emperor Wears No Clothes,  it's by a                                                                 
     Jack  Herer.   Some  people will  consider  it just  ...                                                                   
     cultural propaganda;  however, [it] is  an authoritative                                                                   
     document.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. MATTLEY added:                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Further,  uses of marijuana  are as  follows:   cannabis                                                                   
     used  to  make  over  25,000   products  before  it  was                                                                   
     outlawed in 1937;  125 years ago, [70] to  90 percent of                                                                   
     all  rope, twine,  cordage, ship  sales, canvas,  fiber,                                                                   
     cloth, et cetera,  was made out of hemp fiber  - in 1937                                                                   
     it  was  replaced  by DuPont's  newly  discovered  fiber                                                                   
     known  as nylon; cannabis  was the  number one  annually                                                                   
     renewable  natural  resource   for  80  percent  of  all                                                                   
     paper, fiber,  textiles, and fuel, from 6,000  years ago                                                                   
     until  125 years  ago; cannabis  was  used for  5 to  50                                                                   
     percent of food,  light, land and soil  reclamation, and                                                                   
     even 20 percent or more of all medicine.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Prior  to the  1800s, hempseed  oil was  the number  one                                                                   
     source  for  all  lighting  oil  throughout  the  world.                                                                   
     Until  1937-38,  even  paints   and  varnishes  were  80                                                                   
     percent  hempseed oil.   Hempseed  oil  is nontoxic  and                                                                   
     has  been used  to  make  high-grade diesel  fuel,  oil,                                                                   
     [and] aircraft  and precision oil.   The pulp  from hemp                                                                   
     is the most  efficient sustainable source of  plant pulp                                                                   
     for  biomass  fuel  to  make  charcoal,  gas,  methanol,                                                                   
     gasoline,   and   electricity    in   a   natural   way.                                                                   
     Nutritionally,   hempseed   is   the   most   [perfectly                                                                   
     balanced  and  highest  source of  omega-3  and  omega-6                                                                   
     fatty acids.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   McGUIRE  interjected   to   note   the  committee's   time                                                              
constraints.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:11:25 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. MATTLEY,  acknowledging that  point, asked  why the  amount of                                                              
four  ounces  of marijuana  was  chosen  as  the threshold  for  a                                                              
felony charge.   He offered  his belief  that it was  an arbitrary                                                              
decision.  He added:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     The  challenge to  the world  and this  committee is  to                                                                   
     try  to prove  the facts  wrong.   [Those facts  being]:                                                                   
     "If all fossil  fuels and their derivatives,  as well as                                                                   
     the deforestation  of trees  for paper and  agriculture,                                                                   
     are  banned from  ... use in  order to  save the  planet                                                                   
     and reverse  the greenhouse  effect, then there  is only                                                                   
     one  known renewable  natural resource  able to  provide                                                                   
     the overall  majority of our paper, textiles,  and food,                                                                   
     meet   all  the   world's   transportation,  home,   and                                                                   
     industrial energy  needs, reduce pollution,  rebuild the                                                                   
     soil,  and clean the  atmosphere all  at the same  time.                                                                   
     Our old  standby that did it  all before:   cannabis ...                                                                   
     hemp.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. MATTLEY referred  to Captain Harrington's  testimony regarding                                                              
the  price of  marijuana  in different  areas  of  the state,  and                                                              
opined that  no one  he knew  would pay  the amounts that  Captain                                                              
Harrington claims are being paid.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   McGUIRE  surmised   that   the  higher   figures   Captain                                                              
Harrington  mentioned were  the amounts being  paid for  marijuana                                                              
in Bush Alaska.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. MATTLEY  went on to  say that 43  percent of [Alaskan]  voters                                                              
voted to regulate  marijuana, characterized HB 96 and  SB 74 as an                                                              
extremely  harsh   swing  [in   the  direction  of   criminalizing                                                              
marijuana],  and opined  that  public testimony  by  the people  -                                                              
rather  than by  the  experts -  should  be given  more  credence.                                                              
Nothing  is completely  harmless,  he  noted, and  suggested  that                                                              
taking  away a  person's  freedom  to inhale/exhale  a  particular                                                              
substance is  also an  attack on free  speech, since  breathing is                                                              
required  in order  to speak.   He  concluded by  saying that  the                                                              
bill  does not  address the  issue  of health  and wellness,  that                                                              
there  is  no  need  to make  more  criminals  [out  of  marijuana                                                              
users],  and  reiterated  his  belief  that  marijuana  should  be                                                              
regulated in  order to keep  it away from  children under  the age                                                              
of 18  and adults  under  the age  of 21.   On a  macro level,  he                                                              
remarked, HB 96 is protecting "Big Money."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE said  she agreed  with Mr.  Mattley, and  indicated                                                              
that public  testimony will  remain open  for further  meetings on                                                              
HB 96, which would be held over.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being  no further business  before the committee,  the House                                                              
Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 10:15 a.m.                                                                

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