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Press Release - Office of the Governor

Governor Expresses Support for Marijuana/Meth Legislation

April 19, 2006

(Juneau) - Governor Frank H. Murkowski Wednesday expressed his concern with the House of Representatives' failure to adopt the conference committee report on House Bill 149 and reaffirmed his support for the bill. The Senate, in a bipartisan 18-2 vote, adopted the report Tuesday.

"I want to thank the 19 members of the House who voted for this bill. This legislation is about protecting our children from the dangers of methamphetamine and marijuana. Its passage could have had an immediate positive impact on reducing the spread of methamphetamine use in Alaska, the abuse of anabolic steroids by our youths, and the ability of commercial marijuana growers to avoid search warrants and arrest," said the governor.

"I encourage House members to keep in mind the goal - protection of our children - especially those who cannot protect themselves. The state receives 30-40 reports of harm to children a month that are related to methamphetamine. That is unacceptable and unconscionable," Murkowski said.

"Evidence shows that an alarming percentage of our youths are using marijuana on a regular basis. Busting marijuana growers is the most effective tool law enforcement has to combat this problem," added the governor. "We are proud of the work our state troopers do to interdict large shipments like the recent shipment confiscated in Bethel, but it is more effective to bust the growers who send these shipments. Our interdiction efforts have been severely compromised at the most effective level of law enforcement, initial production of the drug."

In 2004, the Alaska Court of Appeals issued a decision in Crocker v. State that effectively protects marijuana growers from search warrants. Without the full ability to stop commercial growers, the availability of marijuana, especially to children and in rural areas, will continue to increase.

"The market for marijuana is Alaska's youths - and they use marijuana at an unacceptable cost to themselves and to society. The evidence of the harmful effects of marijuana, the increase in its potency and the spread of use to younger and younger Alaskans is documented in the record," said Murkowski. "It is time to send our youths a different message. Marijuana use is not safe. It is not harmless. I am steadfastly resolved to get the methamphetamine, marijuana and anabolic steroid provisions of this legislation passed this year."

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