Senate Bill Keeps Marijuana As A Controlled Substance

When the Alaska Senate votes on its primary marijuana bill later this week, the version they will consider treats marijuana as a controlled substance.

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The body voted 16 to 4 on Wednesday to adopt a version from the Finance committee that keeps marijuana listed as a drug that can be abused, instead of a version crafted by the Judiciary committee that removed that language from the books.

A bloc of Democrats opposed the move. Sen. Bill Wielechowski argued that it was contrary to the intent of the initiative.

“Are you regulating marijuana like alcohol when you treat it as a controlled substance?” asked Wielechowski. “No. Clearly not.”

But Sen. Anna MacKinnon, an Eagle River Republican, defended the move.

“Marijuana remains a controlled substance at a federal level. [former Deputy] Attorney General [James] Cole in his memos directing states with guidance on how to implement strategies to protect their people in regulating the issue of marijuana has the item listed as a controlled substance,” said MacKinnon.

The Senate will take amendments and vote on the content of the bill on Friday.