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LEGAL MATTERS ROOM GUIDE

 

THE CASE OF ALASKA.

HIGH TIMES:  Aug/Sept, 1974.  ALASKA GOES LEGAL.  The case of Ravin v. State of Alaska, 1974, led the Alaska Supreme Court to rule that growing and smoking Cannabis was protected in home and yard by the State Constitution's right to privacy.  This remains the law today.  In other words, half a million Americans can light up a joint without fear of arrest, while the rest of us are at risk of jail.  Who said the federal government was in charge of drug policy?  Not in Alaska, and not for the last 25 years has the federal government been able to do anything about it.

Before I ran for Congress in 1986, in a Democratic Primary from the First Congressional District of California, I wrote the Alaska Supreme Court for a copy of the above case, Ravin v. Alaska.  Here is what I learned.  Ravin, a citizen of Alaska, was stopped on the highway for a traffic violation and marijuana was found in his car.  Ravin maintained a right to privacy in his car, and eventually the case came before the Alaska Supreme Court.  The court make the case that on a public highway there was no such right.  They went further to determine the limits of privacy, since there was a constitutional right in the Alaska Constitution.  They determined that privacy right did include a citizen's house and yard, and that to undermine such an important right over a substance of questionable harm to society was unconstitutional. 

From a letter to the L.A. Times, some more facts:

FACT #1: All adult citizens of Alaska, age 19 and older, have the right to both grow and smoke Cannabis in the privacy of their homes-four ounces per adult. The Alaska Supreme Court in Ravin v. State, 537 P;.2d 494 (Alaska 1975), held that, "the state constitutional right to privacy protects the possession and use of marijuana, by an adult, for personal use in the home in a non-commercial context."

SOURCE: State of Alaska, Department of Law, Criminal Division, Bruce M. Botelho, Attorney General. P.O. Box 110300, Juneau, Alaska, 99811-0300.

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 LEGAL MATTERS ROOM GUIDE

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