Quoth Ravin


Yesterday, in a case brought by the ACLU of Alaska, a judge in Juneau rejected the state legislature's attempt to recriminalize private possession of small amounts of marijuana, noting that it runs afoul of a 1975 decision by the state Supreme Court. In Ravin v. State, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution's privacy clause shields possession of marijuana in the home for personal use, as long as the amount is not large enough to indicate an intent to distribute. Gov. Frank Murkowski and other proponents of recriminalization argue that marijuana today is both more dangerous than we used to think and more dangerous than it used to be, posing a threat grave enough to override privacy concerns. In yesterday's decision, Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins said only the Alaska Supreme Court can decide that circumstances have changed enough to warrant reversing Ravin. It seems unlikely that it will: In 2003 the Alaska Court of Appeals cited Ravin in overturning a conviction for possessing less than four ounces of marijuana at home, and in 2004 the Alaska Supreme Court declined to hear the state's appeal.