Juneau, AK: A Juneau Superior Court judge heard arguments this week by lawyers for the Alaska branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) regarding the constitutionality of a new state law that criminalizes the possession of small amounts of cannabis in the privacy of one's home. The Alaska ACLU filed suit last month to block the enforcement of the law, arguing that it violates the privacy clause of the state constitution, which provides that "the right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed."
In a 1975 Alaska state Supreme Court ruling (Ravin v State), justices determined that this provision encompassed the possession and use of cannabis in the home.
The Superior Court judge is expected to rule on Monday on the ACLU's request to enjoin the new law.
Under the law, signed by the Governor in June, possession of any amount of cannabis is punishable by jail time, and possession of greater than four ounces of cannabis is a felony offense.
For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500.