Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/05/1994 08:00 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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.