Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/05/1994 08:00 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  CSSB 220 - ADD "CAT" TO SCHEDULE IIA DRUG LIST                               
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY opened CSSB 220 for discussion.                               
                                                                               
  Number 368                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR JOHNNY ELLIS, SPONSOR, addressed CSSB 220.  He said,                 
  CSSB 220 proposes to criminalize, by adding to the Schedule                  
  IA of the list of controlled substances, a relatively new                    
  designer drug known as methcathinone.  The street name is                    
  "CAT."  He said he was shocked when he read police reports                   
  from Michigan and Wisconsin about the trouble experienced                    
  with CAT.  He noted the designer drug bill passed 3-4 years                  
  ago did not cover methcathinone.  He emphasized CAT is                       
  becoming a problem in the United States.                                     
                                                                               
  SENATOR ELLIS explained "KHOT" is a drug indigenous people                   
  in Somalia have used in religious ceremonies and as a                        
  recreational drug for hundreds, if not thousands of years.                   
  He noted there was concern that some of the younger troops                   
  of the American military might be using KHOT during the                      
  Somalia operation.                                                           
                                                                               
  SENATOR ELLIS stated CAT can be made in a lab very easily                    
  from over the counter substances, like Drano and battery                     
  acid.  The recipe is relatively simple, likewise the                         
  procedure.  CAT is the illegal drug of choice in the former                  
  Soviet Union.  Police reports indicate CAT is now becoming a                 
  problem in the Seattle area.  Therefore, he expressed                        
  concern that CAT is anywhere from a day to a year, from                      
  being a problem in Alaska, especially since our laws are not                 
  up to date on this subject.                                                  
                                                                               
  SENATOR ELLIS explained CAT is more addictive than heroine                   
  and more powerful than cocaine.  He stated in previous                       
  committees there has been no discussion of CAT not being an                  
  appropriate drug for criminalization.  He urged action on HB
  543 as it has received very strong support from the                          
  Administration in previous hearings.  Linda Adams, from                      
  Alaskans for Drug Free Youth, has testified in previous                      
  committees.  A Juneau police officer, presently unavailable,                 
  also testified.                                                              
                                                                               
  SENATOR ELLIS stated the passage of CSHB 220 is very                         
  important because the demographics for CAT in Alaska are                     
  "just perfect."  He was disappointed that Alaska had not                     
  imposed stricter penalties for the use of crack cocaine                      
  sooner than it did when it saw the problem arising.  He                      
  stated he would hate for Alaska to make the same mistake                     
  twice.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Number 428                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY inquired if SENATOR ELLIS mentioned CAT as a                  
  naturally occurring substance.                                               
                                                                               
  SENATOR ELLIS responded KHOT naturally occurred in Africa,                   
  however, methcathinone is the manufactured equivalent.                       
                                                                               
  Number 435                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY inquired how easy would CAT be to make in                     
  Alaska.                                                                      
                                                                               
  SENATOR ELLIS answered very easy, because methcathinone has                  
  a simple recipe.  CAT does not come from a plant.                            
                                                                               
  Number 453                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY questioned the technical spelling of CAT on                   
  line 6.                                                                      
                                                                               
  Number 460                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE FRAN ULMER directed CHAIRMAN VEZEY to the                     
  article from Drug Abuse Update which shows the same                          
  spelling.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 463                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY clarified he questioned the derivative                        
  spelling, whereby he believed the second word should be                      
  spelled "phenylpropanal" instead of "phenylpropan."                          
                                                                               
  Number 470                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR ELLIS stated MARGOT KNUTH had spoken with the people                 
  at the lab because there had been questions as to the                        
  spelling.  He noted corrections were made, therefore a                       
  committee substitute was prepared.                                           
                                                                               
  Number 474                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY commented methcathinone was a very complex                    
  chemical and he could foresee if CSHB 220 was passed into                    
  law, a person being exonerated because the description was                   
  incorrect.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 477                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG pointed out in the packet under                        
  enrolled HB 4103, which he assumed was a U.S. statute, the                   
  word in question was spelled the same way.  "Methylamino-1-                  
  phenylpropan-1-one."                                                         
                                                                               
  Number 489                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY stated he believed the copy of the article                    
  was of poor quality.  He told SENATOR ELLIS he would take                    
  his word for it.  He noticed the enrollment of HB 4103 was                   
  from the State of Michigan.  He asked if it was against                      
  federal law to distribute CAT.                                               
                                                                               
  SENATOR ELLIS answered he believed it was.                                   
                                                                               
  Number 512                                                                   
                                                                               
  MARGOT KNUTH, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF LAW,                 
  answered questions on CSSB 220.  She answered it is against                  
  federal law to distribute CAT.  CSSB 220 is patterned after                  
  the Schedule I federal list, and would be on Schedule IA in                  
  Alaska.  The specific name of CAT is copied after the                        
  federal schedule list.  She would follow up on CHAIRMAN                      
  VEZEY's concern.                                                             
                                                                               
  Number 522                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY agreed there was plenty of time to check the                  
  spelling.  He inquired if being on the controlled substance                  
  list, CAT would carry the same penalties under federal law                   
  as heroine, etc...                                                           
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH replied correct.                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 527                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked the advantage of making CAT a violation                 
  of state law.                                                                
                                                                               
  Number 529                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH answered if the offense takes place within Alaska,                 
  the state is expected to deal with it.  The federal                          
  government only becomes involved with importations and                       
  matters of crossing state boundaries.  If CAT was not dealt                  
  with in state law, Alaska will not have any control.                         
                                                                               
  Number 534                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY commented the feds do not care if Alaska uses                 
  it or not.  They only care if it is imported.                                
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH responded the federal governments' enforcement                     
  jurisdiction with cocaine, for example, is a violation of                    
  federal law.  However, at a local level, Alaska does not                     
  have federal prosecutions for possession or distribution                     
  unless there is a certain quantity, whereby they get                         
  involved.  She stated there are multiple layers of                           
  governmental enforcement when controlled substances are                      
  involved.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 544                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE BETTYE DAVIS moved to move CSHB 220 from                      
  committee with individual recommendations and attached zero                  
  fiscal note.                                                                 
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked the committee secretary to call the                     
  roll.                                                                        
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR:      REPRESENTATIVES VEZEY, ULMER, B. DAVIS, G.                    
                 DAVIS, OLBERG.                                                
  ABSENT:        REPRESENTATIVES KOTT, SANDERS.                                
                                                                               
  MOTION PASSED                                                                
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY called for a recess at 8:40 a.m.  The meeting                 
  resumed at 8:46 a.m.                                                         

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