Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

04/10/2018 09:00 AM Senate JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed from 4/09/18 at 1:30 p.m. --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
Scheduled but Not Heard
            HJR 21-FEDS RESPECT STATE REG OF MARIJUANA                                                                      
9:09:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   COGHILL  reconvened   the  meeting   and  announced   the                                                               
consideration of  HJR 21. [SSHJR  21 is before the  committee and                                                               
this is the first hearing.]                                                                                                     
9:10:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DAVID   GUTTENBERG,  Alaska   State  Legislature,                                                               
Juneau,  Alaska,  sponsor,  stated  that  HJR  21  addresses  the                                                               
conflict between federal statutes  dealing with marijuana and the                                                               
state's  constitution.  He  advised  that he  would  review  each                                                               
clause of the resolution similar to a sectional analysis.                                                                       
The first  "WHEREAS" talks about  the right of privacy  under the                                                               
Constitution of the State of Alaska.                                                                                            
The second "WHEREAS"  talks about the Alaska  Supreme Court Ravin                                                               
The third "WHEREAS" talks about  Ballot Measure No. 2 that passed                                                               
on November 4, 2014.                                                                                                            
The fourth "WHEREAS"  talks about the rescinded  Cole memo, which                                                               
was  a  pragmatic approach  to  deal  with the  conflict  between                                                               
federal  law and  states  that  have legalized  the  use of  both                                                               
recreational and medical marijuana.                                                                                             
The  fifth  "WHEREAS"  talks about  the  state  regulations  that                                                               
respect and  support the  federal priorities  listed in  the Cole                                                               
The sixth "WHEREAS" talks about  the American Medical Association                                                               
urging the federal government to  reevaluate listing marijuana as                                                               
a schedule I controlled substance.                                                                                              
The  seventh  WHEREAS"  talks about  the  letter Alaska  Attorney                                                               
General  Jahna  Lindemuth  sent to  U.S.  Attorney  General  Jeff                                                               
Sessions   regarding    the   federal    government's   marijuana                                                               
enforcement policies.                                                                                                           
The  eighth "WHEREAS"  talks about  asking the  U.S. Congress  to                                                               
allow states that  have legalized medical or  recreational use of                                                               
marijuana to address the conflict in the banking system.                                                                        
The  ninth  "WHEREAS"  talks  about  the  letter  governors  from                                                               
Alaska,  Colorado,  Washington,  and   Oregon  sent  urging  U.S.                                                               
Attorney  General  Jeff  Sessions   and  U.S.  Secretary  of  the                                                               
Treasury Steve Mnuchin to engage  with states that have legalized                                                               
marijuana before  embarking on changes to  the federal regulatory                                                               
and enforcement systems.                                                                                                        
The tenth "WHEREAS" talks about  the letters Governor Walker sent                                                               
to  U.S.  Attorney  General  Jeff  Sessions  urging  the  federal                                                               
government  to   maintain  policies  that  respect   the  state's                                                               
regulatory    authority   regarding    state-licensed   marijuana                                                               
The  eleventh  "WHEREAS" talks  about  the  letter Senators  Lisa                                                               
Murkowski and  Dan Sullivan, along  with 14 other  senators, sent                                                               
to  the  director  of  the  U.S.  Department  of  the  Treasury's                                                               
Financial  Crimes   Enforcement  Network   expressing  continuing                                                               
support for guidance on the banking system.                                                                                     
He opined  that what to  do with  the cash from  these businesses                                                               
has become  a major  conflict and exposes  the entire  process to                                                               
The   twelfth  "WHEREAS"   talks  about   H.R.  4779   that  U.S.                                                               
Representative Don  Young is  cosponsoring, which  would prohibit                                                               
the  U.S. Justice  Department  from using  federal  funds to  act                                                               
against  individuals or  property  involved  in the  cultivation,                                                               
distribution,  possession, dispensation,  or use  of cannabis  as                                                               
long as those  activities are in compliance with  state and local                                                               
The final "WHEREAS" asks U.S.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions not                                                               
to use federal policy to undermine federal policies.                                                                            
The  first  resolve  talks about  the  Alaska  State  Legislature                                                               
urging the  federal government  to respect  the authority  of the                                                               
State of Alaska to regulate marijuana.                                                                                          
The  second  resolve talks  about  the  Alaska State  Legislature                                                               
urging the federal government to  reconsider listing marijuana as                                                               
a federal schedule I controlled substance.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  explained   that  Assistant  Attorney                                                               
General Cole  authored a  memo that  said the  federal government                                                               
will  not  come  after  states that  have  legalized  medical  or                                                               
recreational  marijuana   if  they  have  set   up  a  regulatory                                                               
framework  that  prioritizes  the federal  marijuana  enforcement                                                               
objectives  listed  in  the   WHEREAS"  at the  top  of  page  2.                                                               
Rescinding that  memo returns things  to a  dysfunctional system,                                                               
he said.                                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  summarized  that  HJR  21  urges  the                                                               
federal government  to respect the state's  authority to regulate                                                               
marijuana and  to reconsider  listing marijuana  as a  schedule I                                                               
controlled substance.                                                                                                           
9:17:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL shared  his view that the Cole memo  scoffed at the                                                               
law trying to give some comfort  to the states whose laws were in                                                               
tension  with the  federal government.  He said  he may  disagree                                                               
with  the sponsor's  approach, but  the final  analysis that  the                                                               
state is  moving on and  the federal government should  move with                                                               
it is totally appropriate.                                                                                                      
He  thanked the  sponsor and  committed to  work together  on any                                                               
changes. He held HJR 21 in committee for future consideration.                                                                  

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