Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205
02/09/2015 01:30 PM Senate JUDICIARY
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|Confirmation Hearings: Select Committee on Legislative Ethics|
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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SB 30-MARIJUANA REG;CONT. SUBST;CRIMES;DEFENSES 2:07:49 PM CHAIR MCGUIRE announced the consideration of SB 30. 2:08:06 PM JEFF PICKETT, Contract Attorney, informed the committee that he graduated from the University of Washington Law School in 1996 and has practiced law in Alaska since 1998. He said he looks forward to assisting the committee. CHAIR MCGUIRE asked Mr. Pickett to comment on the two versions of SB 30. MR. PICKETT explained that the previous draft provided a [defense] to a charge for conduct that Ballot Measure 2 made legal. That raised concern among sponsors of the ballot measure because that structure places the onus on the defendant to assert a [defense]. The current version I changes the structure and makes legal the conduct that the initiative addressed. CHAIR MCGUIRE agreed with the summary and noted that the previous version was described as being drafted according to the Napoleonic Code as opposed to Angelo Saxon law. The conduct was prohibited but a person could mount a defense. The initiative sponsors said it placed a burden on individual Alaskans that was not intended. The committee members in both the House and Senate agreed unanimously there was a problem with that structure. The current draft allows Alaskans who are age 21 and older to possess one ounce of marijuana. She highlighted that the current draft does not change the marijuana definition. It does retain the references to driving while impaired and the committee has agreed that it will use the definition of impaired driving in current Alaska statutes. She clarified for the watching public that on February 24, 2015 it will not be legal to buy marijuana because there will be no licensed establishments from which to buy it. Licensing will be addressed in a separate piece of legislation. CHAIR MCGUIRE solicited a motion to adopt the proposed work draft committee substitute (CS) for SB 30. 2:16:06 PM SENATOR COSTELLO moved to adopt the work draft CS for SB 30, labeled 29-LS0231\I. CHAIR MCGUIRE found no objection and version I was before the committee. 2:16:31 PM HILARY MARTIN, Drafting Attorney, Legislative Legal and Research Services, Legislative Affairs Agency, explained that this draft removes marijuana, hash, and hash oil from the controlled substance schedule so marijuana is no longer included anyplace the term "controlled substance" appears. She suggested that another important change that members should carefully review is Section 50, which creates new marijuana crimes. SENATOR COSTELLO noted that the title of the bill has not changed. MS. MARTIN said she looked at the title and believes it is fairly descriptive. She offered to look at it again if there were any questions. SENATOR COSTELLO responded that she raised the point as a matter of record. CHAIR MCGUIRE thanked Ms. Martin for her work on the bill and welcomed Mr. Pickett to the team. SENATOR COGHILL said that at some point he would like Ms. Martin or Mr. Pickett to discuss the levels of proof in Section 50. That is where he would start to review the bill. CHAIR MCGUIRE said she likes the idea of starting with that section because that is where marijuana starts to be regulated like alcohol. She said she would also like the initiative sponsors to offer their perspective. She asked the members to think about whether the crimes and penalties are appropriate and if they see problems arising because marijuana is no longer classified as a controlled substance. SENATOR MICCICHE recommended the public review the legislation because it is a reminder of the conduct a person should not engage in when consuming either alcohol or marijuana. For example, it is not legal to move uphill on a tramway while impaired by alcohol or marijuana; a nursing license may be denied, suspended, or revoked for a person who habitually uses alcoholic beverages or marijuana; a pawnbroker may not knowingly complete a transaction with someone under the influence of alcohol or marijuana. 2:28:05 PM CHAIR MCGUIRE said the current draft is an attempt to tell the public where marijuana use fits in society. SENATOR MICCICHE commented that the bill appears to meet the voters' intent to legalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, but Ravin still governs for securing marijuana. It has to magically appear until the licensing regulations are established. CHAIR MCGUIRE agreed. SENATOR MICCICHE restated that on February 24 it will be legal to possess marijuana, but it will still be illegal to purchase it. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI suggested that the committee would benefit from input from the public about the use of medical marijuana; giving police officers with probable cause the right to administer a somewhat invasive test for marijuana; and the notion of criminalizing children's conduct when the trend has been rehabilitation and lesser penalties. 2:32:48 PM SENATOR MICCICHE said he has heard from the public about establishing better options for youths who use marijuana. He asked if changes to the alcohol laws could be included in SB 30 or if it would require separate legislation. SENATOR MCGUIRE replied anything can be put in a bill as long as it does not violate the single subject rule. However, if there are political ramifications it may be better in a bill by itself. SENATOR COGHILL offered his opinion that adding alcohol to the title would cause problems. He acknowledged that the minor consuming issues and the penalties and requirements in Title 4 don't always fit well. SENATOR MICCICHE suggested it would be a good idea to keep an eye on the progress of the administration's rewrite of Title 4 to ensure that there is consistency. CHAIR MCGUIRE announced she would hold SB 30 in committee.
|2_9_2015 CS SB30.pdf||
SJUD 2/9/2015 1:30:00 PM