Alaska House votes down bill that links marijuana and methamphetamines

Posted: Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Alaska House dealt a setback on Wednesday to Gov. Frank Murkowski's efforts to recriminalize marijuana.

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Eight Republicans joined 13 Democrats to reject a compromise measure that linked what the governor called a "must-have" marijuana bill with a measure that restricts the sale of over-the-counter drugs used in making methamphetamine.

The vote was 19-21.

House majority leader John Coghill, R-North Pole, described the vote as a "surprise."

Coghill, who supported the measure, earlier said he was confident that lawmakers would embrace tougher measures dealing with methamphetamine, despite some opposition over the marijuana provisions.

"Obviously some other things happened. There was tension between the House and the Senate and I think that's where we ended up," he said.

The Senate Finance Committee merged the two measures earlier this session, but the House last month disagreed with the action. As a result, a conference committee was formed to etch out a compromise.

The committee made only two significant changes to the bill: requiring a customer to sign a logbook before buying a medicine with an ephedrine base, such as Sudafed; and making it illegal to sell those ephedrine-based drugs to anybody under 16.

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