Medicinal Use of Pot Can Continue 

Medicinal Use of Pot Can Continue 
Posted by CN Staff on July 22, 2005 at 05:45:01 PT
By Peter Porco, Anchorage Daily News
Source: Anchorage Daily News
Juneau, Alaska -- Alaskans can continue to register with state health authorities to smoke marijuana for medicinal reasons despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision last month that upheld federal laws banning the drug. The state attorney general, David Marquez, has advised the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services that the court's June 6 decision does not forbid the agency from registering medical marijuana users, according to a statement Marquez issued Thursday.
In the immediate wake of the high court's decision, the state was contemplating suspending the medical marijuana registration program, among a range of actions it could have taken in response, Alaska Department of Law spokesman Mark Morones said Thursday.The administration of Gov. Frank Murkowski is known to be hostile to another category of legal use under Alaska laws, in which recreational users can have up to four ounces of the drug within their homes. That limited legal use was reaffirmed in 2004 by the state's Court of Appeals, which cited the Alaska constitution's privacy provision.Medical users envisioned the court's decision as new ammunition for states that wanted to suppress all use of the drug.At least two states with medical marijuana programs, Oregon and California, suspended their registration programs after the court issued its ruling. Both states recently resumed the programs after their legal authorities reviewed the court's action.All use of marijuana is banned under federal law everywhere in the country.Alaska is one of 10 states that authorize marijuana use for medical reasons, providing the user provides a doctor's prescription and registers with the state. That exception to state law was authorized by a voters' initiative in 1998. About 200 people are now registered in the program, according to Morones, the Law spokesman. About 570 have been registered since the beginning. Snipped:Complete Article: Anchorage Daily News (AK)Author: Peter Porco, Anchorage Daily NewsPublished: July 22nd, 2005 Copyright: 2005 The Anchorage Daily News Contact: letters Website: Related Articles & Web Site:Marijuana Policy Project Alaska, Marijuana Situation Status Quo May Suspend MMJ Registration in Alaska
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 22, 2005 at 09:04:16 PT
Related Article from The Associated Press
Alaska To Continue Medical Marijuana Program Timothy Inklebarger, The Associated Press July 21, 2005JUNEAU, Alaska  Alaska Attorney General David Marquez said Thursday the state will keep registering medical marijuana users.Marquez's office said in June that Alaska may suspend medical marijuana registration program after a U.S. Supreme Court decision, Gonzales v. Raich, gave the federal government the authority to override state medical marijuana laws.Alaska is one of 10 states where marijuana can be used for medicinal purposes with a doctor's prescription. About 200 people are registered medical marijuana users in Alaska."The Raich decision addressed the narrow constitutional question of whether the federal government has authority to regulate certain types of intrastate activity under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution," Marquez said in a statement. "Absent a clear statement in Raich that federal law pre-empts a state's ability to regulate the possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes, Alaska's registration scheme should continue to remain in effect."The Marijuana Policy Project, a marijuana legalization advocacy group, had threatened to sue if the registration program was discontinued.Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Bruce Mirken said the group hopes the announcement sends a message to other states considering legalizing medical marijuana that federal law prohibiting it is no reason to not establish their own state laws.Mirken said other state such as California and Oregon also have said in recent weeks they will continue their registration programs."They've essentially come to the same conclusion that the Raich decision changes nothing on the state level," Mirken said.Copyright: 2005 The Associated Press
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