This is how REAL Whistle Blowers are treated! O’Busha land.
Imprisoned CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who is currently serving a thirty-month sentence in Loretto Federal Correctional Institution, in his most recent letter from prison alleges to have been threatened by a “senior prison official.” In the letter, Kiriakou states that he was told that there has been discussion amongst prison officials of engaging him in “diesel therapy” for the remainder of his sentence.
“Diesel therapy” is a method of continually moving a prisoner from prison to prison across the country via bus, van, or plane. This continual movement results in the inmate being unable to receive calls, mail, or visitation. In many cases family members and even the attorney don’t know where the inmate is located at any given moment.
Mr. Kiriakou suggests these actions “would obviously be retaliation for his press interviews” and his “Letters from Loretto.” Of course, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) could claim it is due to “bedspace” or “safety” issues.
There is an obvious and continuing pattern of persecution and abuse, against Mr. Kiriakou, that has been taking place since becoming the first CIA official to publically admit that torture was official U.S. policy under President George W. Bush’s administration. This action immediately made him a target of the military/security/intelligence complex and its political cronies.
Kiriakou believes what is currently taking place in the U.S. is a new form of McCarthyism saying,
“…(It’s) all a part of the plan to force the whistleblower into personal ruin, to weaken him to the point where he will plead guilty to just about anything to make the case go away. I know. The three espionage charges against me made me one of ‘the Obama Seven.’
In early 2012, I was arrested and charged with three counts of espionage and one count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA). (I was only the second person in US history to be charged with violating the IIPA, a law that was written to be used against rogues like Philip Agee.)Two of my espionage charges were the result of a conversation I had with a New York Times reporter about torture. I gave him no classified information – only the business card of a former CIA colleague who had never been undercover. The other espionage charge was for giving the same unclassified business card to a reporter for ABC News. All three espionage charges were eventually dropped.
So, why charge me in the first place?
It was my punishment for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program and for confirming to the press, despite government protestations to the contrary, that the US government was, indeed, in the business of torture.
Many of us believed that the torture policy was solely a Bush-era perversion. But many of these perversions, or at least efforts to cover them up or justify them, have continued under President Obama.
Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder, declared a war on whistleblowers virtually as soon as they assumed office. Some of the investigations began during the Bush administration, as was the case with NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, but Espionage Act cases have been prosecuted only under Obama. The president has chosen to ignore the legal definition of whistleblower – any person who brings to light evidence of waste, fraud, abuse or illegality – and has prosecuted truthtellers.”
Mr. Kiriakou eventually plead guilty to the IIPA violation, with the three counts of espionage being dropped. He was sentenced in January of 2013, reporting to the prison on February 28th, 2013. Since that day, Kirakou has been a continual target of an orchestrated campaign of harassment, intimidation tactics, and rights violations by corrections officials, as documented in his “Letters from Loretto”, which began being published on website Firedoglake in the summer of 2013.
The letters ceased for a while after being promised by prison officials that if he quit writing he could serve out the final nine months of his sentence in a halfway house. When the prison reneged on its promise, the letters resumed.
The Bureau of Prisons, with CIA complicity, engaged in attempting to stop Kirakou from sending letters from prison. According to Firedoglake, on August 30, 2013, he was “forced to sign” a “memo” from the United States Justice Department that stated he was “legally obligated to clear everything” he wrote “for publication with the CIA’s Publication Review Board (PRB).” The Special Investigative Service “was now demanding that I give all future ‘Letters from Loretto’ to them, and they would sent it on to the CIA,” he asserts. He was not “permitted to send a copy” to his attorney or seek any legal advice before signing the memo. “Failure to follow” would “result in disciplinary action.”
His attorney, Mark MacDougall, immediately called him after finally receiving a copy of the “memo” and said what Kirakou was being required to do was “illegal, unconstitutional, and unenforceable.”
Additionally, Mr. Kiriakou was placed on Central Inmate Monitoring, which is reserved for prisoners who “present special needs management.” According to BOP policy, it’s to make the “institution environment safe… (using) case management decisions based on accurate information and sound correctional judgment.”
The only reason he even found out about the CIM designation was that he had filed a FOIA request on himself. Five of the pages were marked, “FOIA Exempt: Do Not Release to Inmate.” BOP policy states, “The case manager shall ensure that affected inmate is notified in writing as promptly as possible of the classification and basis for it.” Mr. Kiriakou was never at any time notified of this designation.
According to Mr. Kiriakou, “Specifically the documents cautioned, ‘PUBLICITY- Inmate has broad access to the press. Attached are articles the inmate has been mentioned in.”
Kiriakou went on to say, “The Bureau of Prisons is afraid of you knowing what the prison system is really like. They’re afraid of the public disclosure that they don’t bother to follow their own rules. They’re afraid that you’ll learn that they can violate the law with impunity. They’re afraid of ‘Letters from Loretto’.”
Actions of the federal government have shown it to be extremely fearful of the truths this persecuted political prisoner has to share with world. The feds are willing to break their own rules, guidelines, and policies in an attempt to silence him and suppress him from exercising his 1st Amendment rights. The continuing tyrannical oppression of this man is beyond reprehensible. Keep speaking truth to power Mr. Kiriakou, your message is being heard.
Mixed bag of legislation confounds states, NRA
Most recently, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a law in San Diego County that requires applicants for concealed-carry permits to demonstrate “good cause” as to why they need guns for personal safety.
The 7th Circuit ruled against a concealed-carry law enacted in Illinois, and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th circuit courts upheld regulations approved in New York, New Jersey and Maryland, respectively.
“It widens the conflict within the circuits on the issue,” he said, describing the ruling as “carefully obedient to the Supreme Court’s [ruling] in the Heller case, unlike the 5th Circuit and, quite frankly, other courts.”
The Obama administration has argued that age restrictions are not undue burdens on the exercise of the Second Amendment and said Congress has used evidence linking younger people to handgun-related crime to effectively tailor laws.
Nelson Lund, a constitutional law professor at the George Mason University School of Law, said the justices, who will meet in their regular private conference Friday to decide what cases to hear, could decline to take up any of the three.
“There’s been a lot of action in the lower courts, and the Supreme Court in situations like this often waits for what it thinks is a pretty good case,” Mr. Lund said. “They’re very rarely in a hurry to get these things decided. I don’t think the chances are real high.”
He said it’s more likely that the justices will wait for a case that presents big issues about carrying guns in public — possibly a lawsuit over states that give themselves leeway to judge whether someone needs to carry a concealed weapon.
Those states are known as “may carry” jurisdictions, while other states that presume a person eligible unless they are discounted by dint of criminal record or mental problems are considered “shall carry.”
Edward Leddy, a former director of the Center for the Study of Firearms and Public Policy, said a challenge to a “may carry” law would present stark Second Amendment questions that the court could settle.
He said that as a parole officer for two decades in New York, he handled plenty of cases involving murderers and even three serial killers and would have reason to fear retribution. But when he applied for a concealed-carry permit, his need for a gun was questioned.
“May issue and shall issue is a lot more important distinction than people realize,” Mr. Leddy said. “It certainly is always an issue and will continue to be.”
The justices have the option of granting petitions, known as writs of certiorari, on any or all of the cases; denying them; or taking no action.
More at Washington Times
A student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada was forced to issue a formal apology for emailing a picture of President Obama kicking open a door–all because some students thought the image was somehow racist.
The image was actually an edited .gif, and was shown by Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show” last fall. It humorously suggests that the president may be fed up with press conferences. McGill student Brian Farnan, vice president of the university’s student government, sent out an email with the .gif and the harmless caption, “Honestly midterms get out of here,” according to Legal Insurrection.
What happened next is almost unbelievable: Another student issued a formal complaint against Farnan for committing a “micro-aggression.”For those not up-to-date on the PC lexicon, “micro-aggression” is the latest phrase of choice for leftist radicals seeking to blame racism for common annoyances suffered by people of all races. Minority activists at the University of Michigan, for example, have insisted that trivial slights, such as “Having your opinion second-guessed in a group assignment,” are micro-aggressions that betray the campus as a hostile place for students of color.
The .gif of Obama kicking a door was racist because of the “cultural, historical and living legacy surrounding people of color—particularly young men—being portrayed as violent,” according to the apology letter that Farnan was forced to write.
Technically, Farnan got off easy. Under the McGill student government’s Orwellian “equity policy,” Farnan could have been suspended or even dismissed from his position as vice president in the organization. The decision to force Farnan to apologize was apparently made by an “equity commissioner,” whose will can only be overturned by a two-thirds majority of the student government.
Like a true victim of the thought police, Farnan was forced to denounce his heretical email.
“Despite the innocent intentions influencing my decision to use this particular image, I have come to recognize the negative implications of adding the .GIF image within this given context,” he said. “By using this particular image of President Obama, I unknowingly perpetuated this living legacy and subsequently allowed a medium of [Student Society of McGill University] communication to become the site of a microaggression; for this, I am deeply sorry.”
The punishment of Farnan has proved controversial, however, and now the student government has plans to review the equity policy in the coming weeks.
16 Feb 2014 Underground sensors have detected excessive radiation levels inside a nuclear waste storage site deep below New Mexico’s desert. The facility, located in southeastern New Mexico near Carlsbad, is designed as a repository for so-called transuranic waste, which includes discarded machinery, clothing and other materials contaminated with plutonium or other radioisotopes heavier than uranium. Just a few dozen essential personnel, including security officers, remained at the site over the weekend. Inbound waste shipments had already been suspended at the plant since a truck caught fire there earlier this month in an accident that left several workers suffering smoke inhalation.
16 Feb 2014 Authorities were investigating a possible radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M. An air monitor detected radiation near the plant Friday night, KRQE-TV, Albuquerque, reported. However, it was unclear exactly how much radiation has been released from the WIPP.
ALL of the children DIED that day. Yeah – Good work on that.
The state police hold a ceremony next week to honor more than 200 officers who responded to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
The state police will also acknowledge several trauma psychologists who worked with officers following the shooting at the school, when 20 first graders and six adults were killed.
The department is not publicizing the ceremony and the public, including family members, is not invited. The ceremony will take place Wednesday at the State Police Training Academy in Meriden.
Meritorious service medals will be awarded to 55 individuals, including three FBI agents, an Oxford police officer who was one of the first out-of-town officers on the scene and Newtown officer Jeffrey Silver, who was that department’s liaison to the state police during the year-long investigation that followed the shooting.
The only other Newtown officer who will get a medal is Thomas Bean, who was assigned to the Statewide Narcotics Task Force at the time of the massacre and responded to the school along with several members of that unit.
Bean, who is getting an Outstanding Service award, has not worked since the incident and is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. His situation became national news when Newtown police officials took steps to fire him before backing away because of the public backlash.
The awards are being given to officers who specifically assisted the state police or were assigned to state police units at the time of the massacre. Officers from nine other departments, including the FBI, will get medals.
State Police spokesman Paul Vance said there is no monetary bonus affiliated with the medals. Vance said the ceremony “is just to recognize all of those officers in the agency who responded that day.”
Among the state police officers getting the meritorious service award are those in the first group of officers who responded to the school and ended up finding shooter Adam Lanza’s body.
Also receiving the meritorious service award are all of the detectives assigned to the three state police crime squads. All three units were needed for the Sandy Hook investigation. The Western District Crime Squad was the lead group on the investigation, the Central District Crime Squad was tasked with identifying the victims and collecting evidence from part of the school and the school parking lot and the Eastern District Crime Squad processed the Lanza home.
Another 131 officers will receive an outstanding service medal, including the 26 troopers who were assigned to each individual family in the weeks after the shooting.
Several members of the administration also will be getting service medals, including Col. Danny Stebbins and Vance, who became the face of the state police following the massacre. State police received mail from around the world praising Vance’s professionalism following the shooting.
There also will be 13 civilians honored, including the five dispatchers on duty that morning, three priests, trauma psychologists from Glastonbury, a licensed clinical social worker from Manchester and Dr. Anne Balboni, the Clinical Director at RI Critical Incident Stress Team, who worked with members of the Western District Crime Squad.
A rush to trial, and announcement that the state is seeking the Death penalty in the case; is likely meant to shake up the defense team so they will move into a Plea Agreement. The Actual “evidence” would be damning. Prosecutors are being told to head that off no doubt…
A US federal judge has set a November trial date for Boston Marathon suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Source: AAP
A US judge has set a November trial date for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the chief suspect accused of bombing last year’s Boston marathon, killing three people and wounding 260 others.
The trial, which is likely to attract global media interest, will begin on November 3 and could last several months, US District Judge George O’Toole ruled Wednesday.
Tsarnaev’s main lawyer, Judy Clarke, had pressed for the trial to take place no sooner than September 2015 in light of the huge amount of documents related to the case.
The April 15 bomb attacks near the finish line of the Boston marathon reignited traumatic memories of the September 11, 2001 attacks. US prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Tsarnaev, then 19, and his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev were cornered by police after a four-day manhunt. Tamerlan died after an exchange of fire with police and Dzhokhar was wounded.
The defence team could still ask for a change of location for the trial due to the high emotions triggered by the attacks in Boston. A response to that request is due by June 18.
Tsarnaev, now 20, is a US citizen from a Chechen Muslim family.
The shaggy-haired student has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges related to the bombings, including 17 serious charges that can carry sentences of death or life in prison.
These charges include using a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, as well as conspiracy and bombing of a place of public use resulting in death, and carjacking.
Tsarnaev is also charged in connection with the fatal shooting of a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during the brothers’ wild four-day getaway attempt.
Documents from an Ohio National Guard (ONG) training drill conducted last January reveal the details of a mock disaster where Second Amendment supporters with “anti-government” opinions were portrayed as domestic terrorists.
The Ohio National Guard’s Civil Support Team practices in a May 2013 drill at Put-in-Bay
The ONG 52nd Civil Support Team training scenario involved a plot from local school district employees to use biological weapons in order to advance their beliefs about “protecting Gun Rights and Second Amendment rights.”
Portsmouth Chief of Police Bill Raisin told NBC 3 WSAZ-TV in Huntington, West Virginia that the drill accurately represented “the reality of the world we live in,” adding that such training “helps us all be prepared.”
Internal ONG documents provided to Media Trackers after repeated delays provide further context to what WSAZ-TV reported last winter.
In the disaster-preparedness scenario, two Portsmouth Junior High School employees poisoned school lunches with mustard gas, acting on orders from white-nationalist leader William Pierce.
The ONG team discovered biological weapons being produced in the school, requiring activation of containment and decontamination procedures.
Participants in the disaster drill located documents expressing the school employees’ “anti-government” sentiments, as well as a note identifying Pierce as the fictional right-wing terrorists’ leader.
ONG’s 52nd Civil Support Unit participated in a similar drill involving left-wing terrorists with Athens County first responders last year; public officials apologized for that training the next day in response to complaints from local environmentalist groups.
No apology to Ohioans who support limited government and the Second Amendment appears to be forthcoming.
Scioto County Emergency Management Agency director Kim Carver refused to comment, telling Media Trackers she was “not going to get into an Ohio Army National Guard issue that you have with them.”
Ohio National Guard Communications Director James Sims II suggested Media Trackers was “inferring” from the ONG document’s contents as opposed to “what’s actually in the report.”
After excerpts of the report were read to him, Sims said it was “not relevant” to understand why conservatives may feel unduly targeted by ONG’s training scenario.
“Okay, I’m gonna stop ya there. I’m going to quit this conversation,” Sims concluded. “You have a good day.”
Buckeye Firearms Association spokesman Chad Baus told Media Trackers that “it is a scary day indeed when law enforcement are being trained that Second Amendment advocates are the enemy,”
“The revelation of this information is appalling to me, and to all citizens of Ohio who are true conservatives and patriots, who don’t have guns for any other reason than that the Second Amendment gives them that right,” Portage County TEA Party Executive Director Tom Zawistowski said in a separate Media Trackers interview.
Media Trackers reached out to Portsmouth-area state legislators Representative Terry Johnson and Senator Joe Uecker for comment about the drill, which took place within their respective districts. Neither replied to phone calls or emails in time for publication.
ONG’s January 2013 training exercise is one of many instances where government officials have identified those with limited-government or pro-Second Amendment opinions as potential terror threats.
In 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned law enforcement agencies that a predicted rise in“right-wing extremism” would be fueled by “proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans” and “the election of the first African American president.”
Throughout modern history, groups and individuals associated with left-wing causes have proven far more likely to commit acts of domestic terror.
In 2012, members of the anarcho-socialist Occupy Cleveland movement were arrested and prosecuted for attempting to destroy the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge with explosives, to commemorate International Workers’ Day.
Last year, leftist groups Earth First and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) claimed responsibility for the sabotage and property destruction of businesses in Washington and Van Wert counties.
Apparently the beer making equipment WASN’T for making bombs…
During an atmosphere two years ago when Chicago officials were warning demonstrations could turn violent at an upcoming NATO summit, the chief prosecutor chose to invoke an almost never-used Illinois law to charge several self-described anarchists with terrorism.
After jurors acquitted three activists Friday of all terrorism charges — convicting them instead of lesser arson and mob action counts — journalists asked Cook County state’s attorney Anita Alvarez if, in hindsight, she regretted filing the more-serious charges.
“Absolutely not!” she said, her voice rising in a courtroom hallway. “I would bring these charges (again) tomorrow morning — with no apologies and no second-guessing.”
Prosecutors had accused Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Vincent Betterly of plotting, in the weeks leading up to the summit, Molotov cocktail attacks on President Barack Obama’s campaign office, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home and police stations. Two undercover officers infiltrated their inner circle, and the young activists were arrested just days before the summit began.
If the jurors’ finding wasn’t a win in what was widely seen as a test case of Illinois’ terrorism statute, nor was it a defeat for her office, Alvarez said.
“How is this a defeat? … We saved people from being hurt,” she said. “Do we have to wait for a Chicago police officer to be set on fire? … Do we have to wait for that neighborhood bank to go up in flames?”
Alvarez noted that with their convictions on lesser counts, Church, 22, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Chase, 29, of Keene, N.H.; and Betterly, 25, of Oakland Park, Fla., still face between four and 30 years prison.
The defense, though, said it was a decisive defeat for such state terrorism laws, at least in how Alvarez’s office applied them.
“There aren’t many terrorism cases the government … the state … hasn’t won in this country,” said Thomas Durkin, Chase’s attorney.
Illinois was among more than 30 states nationwide that adopted state terrorism laws in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Many saw the bills as largely symbolic.
But Alvarez said Friday that Illinois’ statue was fashioned for just such scenarios: The three activists had come to Chicago while it was in the world spotlight, intending through violence to send a political message. Those actions, she said, fell properly into the terrorism category.
Michael Deutch, Church’s attorney, accused Alvarez of ramping up charges to the level of terrorism as a way to warn other protesters flooding into Chicago and to score political points with Chicagoans frightened by talk of potential violence.
“When we start to trivialize terrorism and charge protesters with terrorism … we are threatening all kinds of rights to protest and to speak out,” he said.
Until Friday, state prosecutors hadn’t directly addressed why they took on the terrorism case rather than letting federal prosecutors — with vastly more experience trying such cases — take the lead.
Durkin, who has represented alleged terrorists in high-profile cases in federal court, has said U.S. government attorneys may have concluded the evidence was weak and so refused to take it on.
But Alvarez said there never a question of feds taking or not taking the case.
“This was our case from the beginning,” she said. “We never asked federal authorities to take this case. … They never declined.”
Prosecutors sought during much of the trial to dismiss the defense notion, made in their openings and closings, that their clients were goofs and often too drunk or high to even contemplate actual terrorist attacks.
They also entered numerous secret recordings of the activists. In one, Chase is heard talking about dropping a firecracker into a bottle of gas, saying, “If you put one of those in a bottle and throw … you cover ‘em in a ball of fire.”
Durkin, in his closing, mocked the idea the three were terrorists. He held up a slingshot that was among the items the activists brought to Chicago, telling jurors, “A weapon of mass destruction.“
After Friday’s verdict, he said Illinois’ pursuit of the activists as terrorists stemmed from what he described as lingering post-9/11 “hysteria.” And he said state prosecutors should avoid doing it again.
“I think it’s a waste of state resources,” he said.
(CN) – The Army cannot delay its duty to warn veterans subjected to Cold War-era drug experiments about potential health concerns, a federal judge ruled.
The ruling comes in Vietnam Veterans of America et al. v Central Intelligence Agency et al. , a 2009 class action that claimed at least 7,800 soldiers had been used as guinea pigs in Project Paperclip.
Soldiers were administered at least 250 and perhaps as many as 400 types of drugs, among them Sarin, one of the most deadly drugs known, amphetamines, barbiturates, mustard gas, phosgene gas and LSD.
Using tactics it often attributed to the Soviet enemy, Uncle Sam sought drugs to control human behavior, cause confusion, promote weakness or temporary loss of hearing and vision, induce hypnosis, and enhance a person’s ability to withstand torture, according to the complaint.
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken certified the class in 2012, which could make thousands of veterans eligible for relief.
Though the defendants succeeded in tossing claims against Attorney General Eric Holder and the CIA, the Department of Defense and Department of the Army are still on the hook.
In November 2103, Judge Wilken gave both sides some relief , granting the Defense Department, Army and CIA summary judgment on certain claims, and giving the plaintiffs summary judgment only on one claim against the Army.
“The court concludes that defendants’ duty to warn test subjects of possible health effects is not limited to the time that these individuals provide consent to participate in the experiments,” Wilken wrote then.
“Instead, defendants have an ongoing duty to warn about newly acquired information that may affect the well-being of test subjects after they completed their participation in research.”
In an injunction accompanying the summary judgment order, Wilken directed the Army to provide such test subjects with newly acquired information that may affect their well-being that it has learned since its original notification, now and in the future as it becomes available.”
In January, the remaining defendants moved to stay that injunction pending the resolution of the other claims.
The defendants claimed it will cost $8.8 million over 5 years to provide possible test subjects with the kind of notice the court ordered.
In a new order this week, Wilken found the defendants did not show that those costs will cause them irreparable harm – an element needed to stay the injunction.
“On the one hand, there are the expenses that will be incurred by defendants and, on the other, there is the very real possibility that the aging and adversely affected test subjects will not learn about health effects that could be mitigated if known,” Wilken wrote in a 7-page order.
“Any expense incurred by defendants doing research and providing information to adversely affected test subjects, even if defendants should not have been required to incur those expenses, would not be wasted.
“However, lost time for the adversely affected test subjects could lead to irreversible health consequences.”
Wilken also denied the defendants’ request to extend their deadlines, and ordered them to submit a report of their efforts by Feb. 17.
Alaska is poised to become the third state to legalize retail marijuana after pro-pot advocates this week cleared the signature hurdle to place an initiative on the August ballot.
The Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska hit 31,593 valid signatures Tuesday, well above the 30,169 signatures required to place the measure before voters. The initiative is expected to appear on the Aug. 19 primary ballot once a final count is certified by the state.
Alaska follows in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington, where voters approved measures to regulate the sale of recreational marijuana for adults in November 2012. Colorado unveiled the nation’s first retail pot shops in Jan. 1, and Washington is expected to begin marijuana sales in June.
Dependably Republican Alaska would become the reddest state to approve retail marijuana, but Committee spokesman Taylor Bickford predicted the legalization effort would appeal to the electorate’s libertarian streak.
“Alaska voters have a large degree of respect for personal liberty and freedom, and that’s reflected in the poll numbers we’ve been seeing,” said Mr. Bickford.
A newly released survey shows the idea already has significant public support. A Public Policy Polling survey posted Wednesday found 55 percent of registered voters polled agree with legalizing pot for recreational purposes, with 39 percent opposed.
Opposing the measure is Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a year-old group founded by former Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, Rhode Island Democrat, that favors decriminalization for pot smokers but not legalization.
So far Alaska’s leading elected officials haven’t said much about the issue, although the Marijuana Policy Project is lobbying for the support for Rep. Don Young, Alaska Republican, who backed a House bill last year to protect marijuana businesses from federal prosecution as long as they comply with state law.
“It’s a states’ rights issue, period,” Mr. Young told the Alaska Dispatch.
The marijuana measure would appear on the primary ballot alongside a number of other high-profile contests. Republicans are waging a contested Senate primary to decide who will face vulnerable Democratic Sen. Mark Begich in November.
The ballot is also expected to include initiatives on repealing a tax cut for oil companies and boosting the minimum wage, which could increase voter turnout.
The Alaska initiative hews closely to the language in the Colorado and Washington measures, which legalize small amounts of marijuana for adults 21 and over. The sale and cultivation would be regulated by the state in a manner similar to that of liquor.
The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board would have regulatory oversight over recreational marijuana, but the state legislature would have the option of establishing and shifting authority to a Marijuana Control Board.
The measure also calls for a $50 per ounce excise tax for sales or transfers of marijuana from a cultivation facility or a store. Local governments could opt out by banning retail sales in their jurisdictions, although marijuana use and possession would still be legal.
The campaign doesn’t have an estimate yet on how much revenue would be generated under the initiative, but “what we do know is that a lot of jobs are going to be created, there will be a significant economic boost, and the state will have a new source of tax revenue,” said Mr. Bickford.
The biggest losers would be those now profiting from marijuana sales, he said, namely dope dealers and criminal syndicates.
“We expect to put a lot of drug dealers out of business by selling marijuana over the counter in a regulated market instead of on the black market,” said Mr. Bickford.