Senate urges feds to follow on marijuana

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) The Senate voted 20-0 to approve a resolution urging the federal government to respect Alaska’s decision to legalize recreational marijuana use.

    House Joint Resolution 21 was sponsored by Rep. David Guttenberg, D-Fairbanks.  It quickly gained the support of other legislators interested in maintaining states’ rights.   The house approved it 40-0 earlier in the session.

    Guttenberg said the decision should be left up to the voters, stating that not doing so would be a matter of federal overreach.

    Senator John Coghill staffer Chad Hutchison read the resolution to the Senate Judicial Committee at a hearing this month, "It urges the federal government to respect the authority of the state of Alaska to regulate marijuana use, production and distribution and forebear any federal interference in policy where marijuana use has been legalized."

    Rep. Guttenberg said it also addresses the banking issue with the marijuana industry currently it is illegal to put revenue derived from the industry into banks regulated by the FDIC, "That is really a big conflict what do you do with the cash.  It exposes the entire process to crime because there is so much cash lying around."

    Judicial Committee Chairman John Coghill said he has questions about the Cole memo where the feds earlier said they wouldn't enforce marijuana laws, "The state's rights issue is important.  The citizens of Alaska certainly have come forward with their view.  It put us in direct tension with the federal government.  I appreciate what you are doing.  You are saying look federal government the state is moving on, move with us."



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