Legislature(2015 - 2016)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

02/18/2015 01:30 PM Senate JUDICIARY

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
01:35:55 PM Start
01:36:06 PM SB30
03:15:18 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
<Above Item Removed from Agenda>
Heard & Held
-- Testimony < Invited and Public > --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        SB  30-MARIJUANA REG;CONT. SUBST;CRIMES;DEFENSES                                                                    
1:36:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE announced  the consideration of SB  30. She reviewed                                                              
the progress  on the  bill. The  substantive  change thus  far has                                                              
been to remove  marijuana from the controlled  substance statutes.                                                              
Should the  bill pass,  marijuana will be  treated as  a regulated                                                              
substance, much like  alcohol. She clarified that the  bill is not                                                              
a wholesale change to allow marijuana use any time any place.                                                                   
She outlined the  areas of discussion for this  hearing. The first                                                              
issue is  over the  use of the  phrase "notwithstanding  any other                                                              
provision  of the  law." The  second issue  relates to  delinquent                                                              
minors  and whether  certain conduct  should be  a violation  that                                                              
appears  on CourtView  or a misdemeanor  that  does not appear  on                                                              
CourtView.  She noted that  Senator Coghill  has an amendment  for                                                              
the committee to  consider. The third matter is  a discussion from                                                              
Department of Health  and Social Services (DHSS)  about the fiscal                                                              
impacts of  the bill. The fourth  topic relates to  the definition                                                              
of "public." She  noted that Senator Coghill has  an amendment for                                                              
the  committee to  consider on  this matter.  Time permitting  the                                                              
final  discussion  points  will  be  about  concentrates  and  one                                                              
ounce, otherwise these matters will be taken up on Friday.                                                                      
1:44:15 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI joined the committee.                                                                                      
CHAIR MCGUIRE  asked Senator  Costello to  discuss the  matter she                                                              
suggested  incorporating in  the committee  substitute (CS).  [The                                                              
discussion and  testimony during  this meeting related  to version                                                              
S CS for SB 30 although it was neither mentioned nor adopted.]                                                                  
SENATOR COSTELLO said she requested the legislation include an                                                                  
education component telling what the law actually does.                                                                         
1:45:21 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFF PICKETT, Contract Attorney, provided an overview of the                                                                    
phrase "notwithstanding any other provision of law" paraphrasing                                                                
the testimony he submitted February 18, 2015:                                                                                   
   • How it's used/interpreted                                                                                                  
        o It is used 7 times in the Initiative; the current                                                                     
          version  of SB 30 has  removed the phrase.  Whether                                                                   
          to include it has become an issue.                                                                                    
        o Courts refer to the phrase as a "term of art"                                                                         
          designed  to implicitly  repeal or amend  existing,                                                                   
          conflicting laws                                                                                                      
        o Important to note: the phrase cannot bind a                                                                           
          future legislature from repealing the phrase                                                                          
        o Drafters strongly disfavor it-possibility for                                                                         
          unintended  consequences; not as elegant;  although                                                                   
          it still  is used,  especially in certain  contexts                                                                   
          like trade law.                                                                                                       
        o Courts acknowledge the breadth of the literal                                                                         
          meaning,  but at  the  same time,  in  most of  the                                                                   
          cases  I've reviewed  they  look at  the intent  of                                                                   
          the  legislature   and  will  often   restrict  the                                                                   
                  ƒDid the legislature intend a literal                                                                        
                   meaning?    Did   it    intend   a    more                                                                   
                   circumscribed application of the phrase?                                                                     
                  ƒCourts will attempt to harmonize,                                                                           
                    whenever   possible,    other   statutory                                                                   
                    language  that  might  seem  to  conflict                                                                   
                    with the "notwithstanding" provision.                                                                       
                  ƒThe Alaska Supreme Court has construed                                                                      
                    the   phrase  according  to   its  "plain                                                                   
                    meaning"  and  found conflicting  law  to                                                                   
                    be barred by the phrase.                                                                                    
                  ƒOn the other hand, the Alaska Supreme                                                                       
                    Court  has  also  ruled that  meaning  of                                                                   
                    the  phrase  can be  limited by  context,                                                                   
                    common sense, and legislative history.                                                                      
                  ƒAt the end of the day, the phrase will                                                                      
                    be    construed    according    to    the                                                                   
                    principles   of  statutory   construction                                                                   
                    set forth by the Alaska Supreme Court.                                                                      
1:51:07 PM                                                                                                                    
   • Pros                                                                                                                       
        o Reflects language voters voted in favor of-                                                                           
          acknowledges their intent.                                                                                            
        o Trumps all laws in conflict: civil, regulatory,                                                                       
          local.   Concern  is   that  without  the   phrase,                                                                   
          conflicting   laws  might   inadvertently  not   be                                                                   
          amended  in the  current process  and render  parts                                                                   
          of the Initiative ineffective.                                                                                        
        o Example: AS 10.20.360 - liquidation of a                                                                              
          corporation's  assets  if actions  of directors  or                                                                   
          officers are illegal.                                                                                                 
        o Belt and suspenders-marijuana illegal for more                                                                        
          than half  a century in our statutes  and permeates                                                                   
         them. Might miss something in this go-around.                                                                          
        o Time crunch of getting this bill out makes it                                                                         
          more  likely something might  be missed and  harder                                                                   
          to specify all laws which SB 30 preempts.                                                                             
        o Phrase used elsewhere in Alaska statutes.                                                                             
        o Phrase used in Colorado's marijuana law, so there                                                                     
          is precedent for it.                                                                                                  
   • Cons                                                                                                                       
        o Not considered effective drafting by authors of                                                                       
          style manuals                                                                                                         
        o May be overbroad-the Alaska Supreme Court has                                                                         
          ruled  that  the phrase  can  abrogate  conflicting                                                                   
          common  law.  Would  a  civil  claim  for  nuisance                                                                   
          withstand the phrase?                                                                                                 
        o May cause court to interpret SB 30 as trumping                                                                        
          laws Legislature did not intend to trump                                                                              
        o The phrase is arguably superfluous, to the extent                                                                     
          that   the   courts   are   empowered   to   review                                                                   
          legislative  history  and  employ other  issues  of                                                                   
          statutory  construction  to determine  whether  the                                                                   
          Legislature intended  SB 30 to trump  a conflicting                                                                   
        o The    personal    use   protections    are    also                                                                   
          constitutionally       protected,      so       the                                                                   
          "notwithstanding"      language     is     arguably                                                                   
          superfluous  with  respect   to  personal  use  and                                                                   
1:54:31 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COSTELLO  asked  if  any   cases  have  been  brought  in                                                              
Colorado that center on the use of the notwithstanding phrase.                                                                  
MR.  PICKETT  replied  he  hasn't  found  one,  but  he  would  do                                                              
additional research.                                                                                                            
SENATOR  COGHILL said  it would  be  interesting to  know if  this                                                              
issue was addressed when Colorado amended its constitution.                                                                     
MR. PICKETT agreed to send a follow up memo on the question.                                                                    
1:56:03 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM   HINTERBERGER,  Ph.D.,   Spokesman,   Campaign  to   Regulate                                                              
Marijuana like  Alcohol (CRMA),  expressed appreciation  for Chair                                                              
McGuire's earlier  comment drawing a parallel between  this effort                                                              
and  the  repeal  of alcohol  prohibition.  He  expressed  further                                                              
appreciation  for respecting  the  will of  the  people and  being                                                              
responsive to suggestions.  He cited in particular  restoring Sec.                                                              
17.38.020, extending  to employees  the same protections  given to                                                              
registered marijuana  establishments, and amending  the definition                                                              
of marijuana  concentrates. He  stated that  CRMA can  support the                                                              
latest  draft  [version   S]  although  a  few   concerns  remain.                                                              
Rachelle Yeung would detail those concerns.                                                                                     
1:58:13 PM                                                                                                                    
RACHELLE  YEUNG, Legislative  Analyst,  Marijuana Policy  Project,                                                              
said  that  in  the  interest  of time  she  would  focus  on  the                                                              
"notwithstanding" issue. She read from the following letter:                                                                    
     At  issue  is  the  phrase  "notwithstanding  any  other                                                                   
     provision  of  law,"  which  appears  in  AS  17.38.020,                                                                   
     17.38.060,  17.38.070(a),   17.38.070(b),  17.38.070(c),                                                                   
     17.38.070(d), and 17.38.070(e).                                                                                            
     The "notwithstanding"  language is at the very  heart of                                                                   
     the  initiative,  which was  enacted  by 53%  of  Alaska                                                                   
     voters  three  months  ago.  Measure 2  was  enacted  to                                                                   
     ensure  that  adults  and   those  working  at  licensed                                                                   
     marijuana  businesses  are  not  penalized  for  certain                                                                   
     marijuana-related  activities,  and that  their  conduct                                                                   
     is lawful  under state law  and immune from  seizure and                                                                   
     asset  forfeiture.  Removing this  voter-enacted  phrase                                                                   
     would violate voters' intent.                                                                                              
     This  crucial  phrase  ensures   that  the  initiative's                                                                   
     voter-enacted  legal protections  trump  each and  every                                                                   
     other  state statute  and local  ordinance  that may  be                                                                   
     contrary  to them. This  includes not  only the  state's                                                                   
     criminal   laws   related   to  marijuana   (which   the                                                                   
     legislature  is wisely  looking at  amending), but  also                                                                   
     state  civil  laws  and local  ordinances.  Neither  the                                                                   
     Campaign  to Regulate  Marijuana  Like  Alcohol nor  the                                                                   
     Legislature  and its  staff  can be  absolutely  certain                                                                   
     that each and  every law that could be interpreted  in a                                                                   
     way that is contrary to Measure 2 is being amended.                                                                        
     Indeed,  early  drafts  of  SB 30  removed  or  severely                                                                   
     limited   legal  protections   for  behavior  that   was                                                                   
     legalized  under  Measure 2  -  such as  striking  legal                                                                   
     protections  and replacing  them  with  a mere  defense;                                                                   
     prohibiting the  mere display of permissible  amounts of                                                                   
     marijuana   in   public;    prohibiting   the   use   of                                                                   
     permissible  amounts of  marijuana in  public view;  and                                                                   
     reducing  the  amount  of marijuana  that  adults  could                                                                   
     possess  on the  premises  where their  personal  plants                                                                   
     were  grown.  The  campaign  understands  that  some  of                                                                   
     these  concerns are  being  addressed in  new drafts  of                                                                   
     the bill.  However, this illustrates the  realistic odds                                                                   
     that not all  statutes inconsistent with Measure  2 will                                                                   
     be immediately  identified and amended to  be consistent                                                                   
     with the initiative.                                                                                                       
     Furthermore, even  laws that do not explicitly  refer to                                                                   
     "marijuana"  may put  an adult or  business engaging  in                                                                   
     lawful   marijuana-related  behavior   at  legal   risk.                                                                   
     Absent  the "notwithstanding"  clause,  laws that  refer                                                                   
     to "illegal"  activity may  be interpreted by  courts as                                                                   
     applying to  activities that were made lawful  by Alaska                                                                   
     voters under  Measure 2, but  that remain illegal  under                                                                   
     federal  law. For  example,  under Measure  2,  lawfully                                                                   
     registered  corporations may  engage in the  possession,                                                                   
     cultivation,    processing,     repackaging,    storage,                                                                   
     transportation,  display,   transfer,  and  delivery  of                                                                   
     marijuana.   Such   actions   are   to   be   considered                                                                   
     legitimate  business  interests.   Nevertheless,  in  an                                                                   
     action  by a  member of  the  corporation, AS  10.20.360                                                                   
     allows for  the liquidation  of the assets and  business                                                                   
     of  the corporation  if "the  acts of  the directors  or                                                                   
     those in control of the corporation are illegal."                                                                          
     The "notwithstanding"  language of Measure 2  would make                                                                   
     clear  that AS 10.20.360  does not  apply as it  relates                                                                   
     to   persons   or  corporations   engaging   in   lawful                                                                   
     marijuana-related  activities. Absent  that language,  a                                                                   
     judge   could   rule  that   the   marijuana   business'                                                                   
     activities  violated  AS  10.20.360   because  marijuana                                                                   
     remains an  illegal, controlled substance  under federal                                                                   
     law.  Please  note  that  this   was  simply  the  first                                                                   
     statute  that  the campaign  identified  as  potentially                                                                   
     contradictory. We  are certain that there are  many more                                                                   
     such examples throughout the Alaska statutes.                                                                              
     In addition  to concerns  about existing  laws that  may                                                                   
     be counter  to 17.38.020  and 17.38.070,  laws that  may                                                                   
     be  drafted  in  the  future  may  also  unintentionally                                                                   
     contradict   the  legal   protections   of  Measure   2.                                                                   
     Preserving the  "notwithstanding" language  would ensure                                                                   
     that  such laws,  future  or  present, do  not  penalize                                                                   
     acts by  adults that  voters intended  to be lawful.  We                                                                   
     recognize  that  the  legislature will  have  the  legal                                                                   
     authority in  two years to make any revisions  it wishes                                                                   
     to Measure  2. However,  we hope  that it will  continue                                                                   
     to   be   guided   by   the    will   of   voters.   The                                                                   
     "notwithstanding"   phrase   will  prevent   inadvertent                                                                   
     revisions and  ensure that Measure 2 and  voters' intent                                                                   
     is  readily  apparent  when  the  legislature  considers                                                                   
     future marijuana-related legislation.                                                                                      
     While  we  understand  the  language  is  disfavored  by                                                                   
     drafting,  it  is used  many  times in  Alaska  statutes                                                                   
     already.  Surely, Alaska's statutes  can tolerate  a few                                                                   
     more uses of  the phrase to ensure that the  will of the                                                                   
     people is  carried out. An  identical phrase is  used in                                                                   
     Colorado's   constitution    under   the   voter-enacted                                                                   
     Amendment 64,  which legalized, regulated and  taxed the                                                                   
     adult use of marijuana.                                                                                                    
2:04:16 PM                                                                                                                    
BRUCE  SCHULTE, Coalition  for Responsible  Cannabis  Legislation,                                                              
stated  support  for  the  comments   from  the  Marijuana  Policy                                                              
Project  and appreciation  for the  evolution of  the bill.  It is                                                              
now  legislation  that  CRCL  can   support.  He  acknowledged  in                                                              
particular   the   refinement   of  the   definition   of   public                                                              
consumption to allow  an opportunity for a licensed  event to have                                                              
limited consumption on the premises.                                                                                            
He stated  that while CRCL supports  the effort to  discourage the                                                              
use of butane in  Sec. 17.38.200, the current language  makes it a                                                              
first  degree offense  for  both an  individual  and a  registered                                                              
business  to use  a volatile  gas. He  suggested eliminating  Sec.                                                              
17.38.200(a)(1)(B)(v),    because     a    registered    marijuana                                                              
establishment is where such activity should take place.                                                                         
2:06:58 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL  said  he  has trouble  with  the  definition  of                                                              
marijuana  as  it  relates  to concentrates  and  that  makes  the                                                              
notwithstanding language particularly worrisome.                                                                                
MR. SCHULTE  said he's given  it considerable thought  and because                                                              
of  the  definition  in the  initiative  he's  inclined  to  treat                                                              
flowers  and concentrates  without  distinction.  He suggested  it                                                              
may be appropriate to address limits at the retail level.                                                                       
SENATOR COGHILL  opined that  two-thirds of an  ounce of  hash oil                                                              
is  very different  than a  half ounce  of marijuana.  He said  he                                                              
struggles  with how  to keep people  accountable  and his  view is                                                              
that  inserting   the  notwithstanding   language  opens   a  huge                                                              
MR.  SCHULTE  said  he understands  the  concern  but  he  doesn't                                                              
believe he could offer a suggestion to solve the problem.                                                                       
SENATOR COGHILL asked him to continue to give it thought.                                                                       
MR.  SCHULTE clarified  that CRCL  is committed  to public  safety                                                              
and welfare. He agreed to continue to give it more thought.                                                                     
SENATOR  COGHILL  commented  that  he  has  an  amendment  to  the                                                              
definition that he believes describes a fair value.                                                                             
2:13:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  said it's fair for the  committee to discuss                                                              
how to  define an  ounce. He  questioned at  what point  the plant                                                              
material becomes an ounce and not part of the plant.                                                                            
MR. SCHULTE  said it's easier to  define in a  retail environment.                                                              
He noted  that the flower weighs  more than the leaves  because of                                                              
moisture content  and most plants  yield 2-6 ounces of  flower and                                                              
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI said  he'd like  a record  of the intent  of                                                              
the initiative because  he can guarantee that in the  next year or                                                              
so there will be  a situation where the police go  into a person's                                                              
house and see the  legal number of plants but also  plant material                                                              
that's fallen to the ground.                                                                                                    
MR. SCHULTE said  his understanding of the text  of the initiative                                                              
is that an  individual can have  up to six plants, three  of which                                                              
are mature  and the  product produced  from them. He  acknowledged                                                              
that the product could span a range in weight.                                                                                  
2:16:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MCGUIRE asked  for help  defining the  amount of  marijuana                                                              
that would be equivalent  to walking around with a  case or two of                                                              
alcohol. The  intent is  to protect public  safety. "If  one ounce                                                              
in the liquid form  really is not the same at all  as one ounce in                                                              
a dried form, let's be reasonable," she said.                                                                                   
MR. SCHULTE said  he's heard people talk about having  a couple of                                                              
six packs  of beer, a  bottle or two  of hard alcohol  and several                                                              
bottles  of wine  in their  home at any  one time  and he's  heard                                                              
people  characterize their  consumption  of  marijuana in  largely                                                              
the  same way.  They  might  have a  quarter  ounce  of flower,  a                                                              
couple  of grams  of hash,  and  a gram  or  two of  hash oil.  He                                                              
agreed  that concentrates  are, by  definition, more  concentrated                                                              
than a  flower, but  the difference  is in  consumption. A  person                                                              
might consume  an eighth ounce  of flower  in an evening,  but not                                                              
that same  quantity of hash  or hash oil.  He said  he understands                                                              
the concern,  but he doesn't  believe that the potential  negative                                                              
health  consequences   are  the  same  for  over   consumption  of                                                              
marijuana as  opposed to drinking  a liter  and a half  of liquor.                                                              
He reiterated  his belief that the  public would be  better served                                                              
by addressing this at the retail level.                                                                                         
SENATOR COGHILL  opined that  three quarters  of an ounce  of hash                                                              
oil could  be similar  to a  liter of  100 proof alcohol,  whereas                                                              
three quarters of an ounce of leafy material likely is not.                                                                     
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI read  the definition  of "usable  marijuana"                                                              
in  Oregon's  medical marijuana  law  and  suggested that  it  may                                                              
provide guidance.                                                                                                               
CHAIR MCGUIRE asked Mr. Schulte if he had anything more to add.                                                                 
MR.  SCHULTE  offered  his personal  experience  and  opined  that                                                              
consumption  of  marijuana  has  evolved  over  the  last  several                                                              
decades from  leaves and flowers  to concentrates. He  agreed that                                                              
by definition  concentrates are  more concentrated,  but disagreed                                                              
that they are out of hand hazardous.                                                                                            
2:27:16 PM                                                                                                                    
HILARY   MARTIN,   Drafting  Attorney,   Legislative   Legal   and                                                            
Research,  Legislative  Affairs  Agency,  informed  the  committee                                                            
that  legislative  drafters  try   to  avoid  use  of  the  phrase                                                            
"notwithstanding   any  other   provision  of   law"  because   it                                                              
introduces uncertainty  in the legislation and  potentially leaves                                                            
the  interpretation  to  the  court. She  suggested  that  if  the                                                            
legislature  wants  to  specifically cancel  something  out,  it's                                                            
better to say that.                                                                                                             
SENATOR COGHILL  offered his perspective that  the notwithstanding                                                            
language  seems  reasonable  if   it  only  addresses  the  narrow                                                            
category  in the  initiative, but  it becomes  confusing and  less                                                            
valuable when it applies to all the alcohol statutes.                                                                           
MS. MARTIN reiterated  that from a drafting standpoint  the phrase                                                            
introduces uncertainty.                                                                                                         
SENATOR   COSTELLO   reviewed    Mr.   Pickett's   memo   on   the                                                            
notwithstanding  phrase and  suggested that  the committee  may be                                                            
trying  to micro-manage  the  court. She  asked  if someone  could                                                            
talk  about  whether  the  court has  some  flexibility  that  the                                                            
committee doesn't recognize in applying that language.                                                                          
CHAIR MCGUIRE cautioned  that would be difficult  because it would                                                            
be on a case-by-case basis.                                                                                                     
2:32:21 PM                                                                                                                    
DOUG  WOOLIVER,  Deputy  Administrative  Director,  Administrative                                                            
Staff, Alaska Court  System, said he agrees with  Mr. Pickett when                                                            
he points  out that  a general rule  for any court  is to  try and                                                            
reconcile  statutes  rather  than  reading  them  in  a  way  that                                                            
creates a conflict.  That's how Alaska courts  interpret statutes,                                                            
he said.                                                                                                                        
2:33:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE  turned to  Amendment 1, [presumably  29-LS0231\S.5]                                                            
relating to delinquent minors appearing on CourtView.                                                                           
SENATOR COGHILL explained  that the amendment says  a violation by                                                            
a delinquent minor  should be treated like a  hunting, fishing, or                                                            
alcohol citation  for a minor. He  reasoned that it's a  matter of                                                            
accountability and equal justice.                                                                                               
MR. WOOLIVER advised  that this is a decision  for the legislature                                                            
and  the court  can work  with it  either way.  He confirmed  that                                                            
violations, even  for minors, appear on CourtView  until they rise                                                            
to  the   level  of  a  crime.   [Version  S]  makes   the  matter                                                            
confidential  even though  it  isn't handled  by  the Division  of                                                            
Juvenile  Justice (DJJ).  CourtView  would recognize  the date  of                                                            
birth and the name  wouldn't appear; if the minor  were to contest                                                            
the violation, it would be in a closed hearing.                                                                                 
CHAIR  MCGUIRE  asked  Tracey Wollenberg  to  provide  the  Public                                                            
Defender perspective.                                                                                                           
2:36:20 PM                                                                                                                    
TRACEY  WOLLENBERG, Deputy  Public  Defender, Appellate  Division,                                                              
Alaska Public  Defender Agency,  reminded  the committee  that she                                                              
testified to this  at the last hearing. She recapped  that the key                                                              
point is  to keep the  records confidential.  If the  minor's name                                                              
appears on  CourtView, it  could create a  barrier that  is beyond                                                              
what is commensurate with the conduct that's being punished.                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL asked  if she's  seen  those detrimental  effects                                                              
for minor consuming alcohol.                                                                                                    
MS.  WOLLENBERG  highlighted  that  the  minor  consuming  alcohol                                                              
statutes  were amended  several  years ago  because the  probation                                                              
time was impacting  eligibility for the military.  She opined that                                                              
the consequences  of having the records accessible  can't be fully                                                              
anticipated  any more than  they were  when the probation  statute                                                              
initially was passed.                                                                                                           
SENATOR  COGHILL  asked  if  she  feels  that  traffic  violations                                                              
should be confidential.                                                                                                         
MS. WOLLENBERG replied  the stigma is different for  the two types                                                              
of  violation because  marijuana  use  is still  criminal  conduct                                                              
under federal law and in many states.                                                                                           
SENATOR COGHILL  said he contests  that to some degree,  but he'll                                                              
have the conversation later.                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MCGUIRE asked  if a  parent or  guardian is  notified of  a                                                              
MS. WOLLENBERG explained  that there is a requirement  in juvenile                                                              
court to encourage  parental involvement. She thought  there was a                                                              
similar  requirement in  adult court  but  she'd have  to do  some                                                              
CHAIR MCGUIRE  asked her to check  on that before Friday  and also                                                              
to  be prepared  to  offer a  suggestion  for  both marijuana  and                                                              
alcohol that looks at diversion and encourages treatment.                                                                       
SENATOR COGHILL  asked to  hear from both  Matt Davidson  and Kaci                                                              
Schroeder regarding the proposed amendment.                                                                                     
2:45:36 PM                                                                                                                    
KACI  SCHROEDER, Assistant  Attorney  General, Criminal  Division,                                                              
Department of  Law, advised that  regardless of what  happens with                                                              
the  amendment,  the language  starting  on  page  1, line  9,  is                                                              
needed  as long  as there  are provisions  in  the bill  regarding                                                              
juveniles charged with violations.                                                                                              
CHAIR  MCGUIRE restated  that  Department  of Law's  testimony  is                                                              
that the  second part of  the amendment is  needed to say  that if                                                              
the conduct  is changed to  a violation,  DJJ will no  longer have                                                              
MS. SCHROEDER agreed.                                                                                                           
2:47:00 PM                                                                                                                    
MATT  DAVIDSON,  Social  Services  Program  Officer,  Division  of                                                              
Juvenile  Justice,  Department  of  Health  and  Social  Services,                                                              
offered to answer questions.                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE  asked if parents  would be notified if  their minor                                                              
child receives a violation for marijuana.                                                                                       
MR. DAVIDSON replied  that would be up to the  district court, but                                                              
his assumption is  that the juvenile could pay  the ticket without                                                              
parental notification.                                                                                                          
SENATOR COGHILL asked how it works for minors consuming alcohol.                                                                
MR. DAVIDSON  replied that,  too, is  outside the jurisdiction  of                                                              
the Division of  Juvenile Justice. It's a district  court offense.                                                              
Under  the  bill  MIM 1  and  MIM  2  would remain  with  DJJ  and                                                              
parental involvement  is a  large part  of that process.  Speaking                                                              
to the  diversion portion, he explained  that not every  child who                                                              
is referred  for a  criminal offense  sees a  judge. Rather,  they                                                              
meet with  a probation officer who  assesses their needs  and risk                                                              
of  reoffending. If  they've  been  referred to  DJJ  a number  of                                                              
times,  they're more  likely to  see a judge  and get  adjudicated                                                              
for the offenses.                                                                                                               
SENATOR COGHILL  asked how it affects  a juvenile's record  if the                                                              
offense rises to a misdemeanor.                                                                                                 
MR. DAVIDSON clarified  that he wasn't advocating  that change and                                                              
it would  be problematic  for DJJ  because it  would create  a new                                                              
class of  status offenses. However,  if the legislature  made that                                                              
decision, DJJ would handle the cases the same way it does now.                                                                  
2:51:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL said  he agrees there is a stigma  associated with                                                              
marijuana because  it's a controlled substance under  federal law.                                                              
The  dilemma  is   how  to  hold  juveniles   accountable  without                                                              
creating  an  insurmountable  barrier  that will  keep  them  from                                                              
qualifying for something like military service.                                                                                 
MR. DAVIDSON  suggested the members  look at the draft  rewrite of                                                              
Title  4  to  see  if  the  confidentiality  provisions  might  be                                                              
applicable to marijuana.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  COGHILL   recalled  that  Nancy  Meade   testified  about                                                              
potentially keeping  the minor's name on CourtView  while the case                                                              
is active and then it would be removed once the case is closed.                                                                 
MR. DAVIDSON  noted that DHSS maintains  a list of  barrier crimes                                                              
for  specific  positions  and  opined   that  a  marijuana  ticket                                                              
probably wouldn't be a barrier to most of the jobs on that list.                                                                
SENATOR COSTELLO  advocated looking at the recommendations  in the                                                              
Title 4 rewrite  regarding minors involving alcohol  before moving                                                              
CHAIR MCGUIRE asked if Ms. Meade had that information.                                                                          
SENATOR COGHILL  clarified that Senator Micciche  was working with                                                              
the Department  of Law and  the ABC Board  was an advisor  as they                                                              
looked  at  minor   in  possession  and  consuming   alcohol.  His                                                              
understanding  is  that  they  were  leaning  toward  it  being  a                                                              
violation  so the  question is  whether  or not  the names  should                                                              
appear on  CourtView. He stated  support for early  accountability                                                              
and  added that  it was  probably  the reason  for a  diversionary                                                              
CHAIR  MCGUIRE mentioned  the  potential  compromise  to keep  the                                                              
names on CourtView until the case was closed.                                                                                   
SENATOR   WIELECHOWSKI   said   it's  important   to   hold   kids                                                              
accountable when  they make mistakes,  but it's a bad  policy call                                                              
to keep their names on CourtView for the rest of their lives.                                                                   
CHAIR   MCGUIRE  indicated   the   committee   would  review   the                                                              
compromise language looking for some middle ground.                                                                             
She asked to hear from DHSS about the fiscal impacts.                                                                           
2:57:21 PM                                                                                                                    
JAY  BUTLER,  Chief  Medical Officer,  Department  of  Health  and                                                              
Social Services  (DHSS), offered  to answer any remaining  medical                                                              
questions related to marijuana.                                                                                                 
SENATOR  COGHILL asked  for help  defining an  ounce of  marijuana                                                              
that recognizes  the  range in value  from a  concentrate  to leaf                                                              
DR. BUTTLER said he'd be happy to have further discussions.                                                                     
2:59:57 PM                                                                                                                    
DIANE  CASTO,  Project  Manager, Division  of  Behavioral  Health,                                                              
Department  of Health  and  Social Services,  and  Chair, Title  4                                                              
rewrite  Underage  Drinking  Subcommittee,  discussed  the  report                                                              
from the  ABC Board that outlines  all the recommended  changes to                                                              
the minor consuming  alcohol statutes. The  subcommittee struggled                                                              
with  the same  questions for  alcohol  as this  committee is  for                                                              
marijuana. They  didn't want  to limit the  future of a  minor who                                                              
had made a mistake  but recognized that there  are opportune times                                                              
for  making an  impression on  youth and  getting their  attention                                                              
for  the   behavior  they've  engaged   in.  She   cited  national                                                              
statistics to clarify  the importance of keeping  both alcohol and                                                              
marijuana  out of  the  hands of  young  people  and having  early                                                              
intervention  procedures if  they  do start.  Research shows  that                                                              
youths  that   begin  using  marijuana   before  age  25   have  a                                                              
significantly increased  probability of dependence  and 97 percent                                                              
of new users are age 24 or younger.                                                                                             
MS.  CASTO explained  that  the subcommittee  worked  to strike  a                                                              
balance and make  minor consuming alcohol a true  violation - (not                                                              
a violation  stepped up  to a misdemeanor  due to requirements  as                                                              
in  current statute)  - that  provided  swift action,  appropriate                                                              
consequences,  and consistent  follow through.  A youth picked  up                                                              
for  underage drinking  would get  a  $500 ticket  and a  required                                                              
court  appearance  accompanied  by  a  parent.  The  idea  was  to                                                              
educate both  the parent and child  and get help for the  youth if                                                              
needed.   The   carrot   to  encourage   participation   was   the                                                              
opportunity  to  reduce  the  $500   fine  to  $50  by  undergoing                                                              
screening  through an  ASAP program  or going  to an  alcohol/drug                                                              
information school or treatment if needed.                                                                                      
MS. CASTO  said the  CourtView issue was  the one sticking  point.                                                              
Discussions  are  ongoing about  having  the case  temporarily  on                                                              
CourtView   and  then  disappear   once   it's  closed,   but  her                                                              
understanding is that there has been no final decision.                                                                         
CHAIR  MCGUIRE  asked  for clarification  on  the  compromise  for                                                              
MS.  CASTO  offered  her  understanding  that  when  a  ticket  is                                                              
written, the  name would  automatically go  on CourtView  and stay                                                              
there  until the  minor either  pays the  full fine  or meets  the                                                              
requirements  for a  reduced fine.  After that  the name would  be                                                              
removed. Once  there is a good  compromise on the issue,  she said                                                              
the best  way forward  is to  have consistency  between the  minor                                                              
consuming laws for marijuana and alcohol.                                                                                       
CHAIR MCGUIRE asked for the draft language.                                                                                     
MS. CASTO agreed to provide it.                                                                                                 
SENATOR COSTELLO  asked for a  list of the  people who sat  on the                                                              
MS. CASTO agreed to provide it.                                                                                                 
She  told the  committee that  the Division  of Behavioral  Health                                                              
has  been debating  the  matter  of a  fiscal  note because  there                                                              
really  isn't a  fiscal impact  in the  bill itself.  For DBH  the                                                              
fiscal   note  will   be  based   on   consumption  patterns   and                                                              
consequences related  to public  safety and public  health issues.                                                              
They're already  looking at  ways to  do a  better job  of primary                                                              
prevention  to  give everyone  better  information.  Those  things                                                              
will have  some cost, but they're  not directly tied to  the bill.                                                              
There  will also  be treatment  issues. Current  data shows  there                                                              
are  about 590  people in  treatment  in Alaska  for marijuana  as                                                              
their  primary drug.  The numbers  are much higher  for those  who                                                              
have  marijuana as  just one  of  their issues.  Other data  shows                                                              
that  about  9,000  Alaskans  meet   the  criteria  for  marijuana                                                              
dependency  and addiction. The  current effort  is to  compile the                                                              
available data  in a usable  format in  order to make  an analysis                                                              
and look at trends. Clearly there will be increased costs.                                                                      
CHAIR MCGUIRE  encouraged Ms.  Casto to  have a conversation  with                                                              
the Finance Committee about the potential for additional costs.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CS SB 30 Version S.pdf SJUD 2/18/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 30