Photo Credit: matthew kenwrickThe Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is misleading Alaska voters. Their campaign is claiming marijuana arrest rates that are patently false and inflated by nearly 25%. The data they used is outdated, as is evidenced by a recent and comprehensive report prepared by the Analytical Statistics Center at the UAA Justice Center which was widely distributed to and reported by media in September.
In its recent reporting of arrest rates, the proponents of legalization of marijuana in Alaska, use common propaganda techniques to sway the public into believing that great numbers of Alaskans are being jailed for small marijuana possession offenses. Kalie Klaysmat, executive director of the Alaska Association of Chiefs of Police explains, “The data source they draw upon, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, reflects specifically defined and reported data elements.
For example an “arrest” as defined by UCR includes not only those physical arrests when someone is booked into jail, but also includes actions as simple as a summons into court, where the person is released on a promise to appear in court, similar to a traffic citation. Unfortunately, proponents of the measure prefer that the public imagine all arrests to involve handcuffs and jail and they make no effort to define that term in its proper context to the voters.“
On the last prison census date, there were only 4 prisoners in Alaska jails who had been convicted of Misconduct Involving Controlled Substances in the 6th degree which includes marijuana possession, and each of these prisoners also had other concurrent convictions— sometimes multiple convictions— which could keep them in prison even if their marijuana conviction did not exist.
The concurrent convictions for these 4 inmates included attempted 2nd degree sexual assault, 4th degree assault, driving under suspension, parole violation, misconduct involving weapons, and misconduct involving controlled substances in the 3rd degree. None of these convicts were imprisoned for marijuana offenses alone.
This misleading of voters is part of a pattern that has emerged from the proponents of ballot measure 2 and it’s a tactic that the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington D.C. based organization backing the Alaska measure, has used in other states. Recently former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper was touted as a proponent of legalization without mention of his troubled law enforcement career that ended 15 years ago in controversy. He is now an activist against law enforcement. ( see : https://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19991207&slug=3000005)
The Alaska Association of Chiefs of Police was established as a voice to represent all law enforcement executives in Alaska. Membership includes Chiefs and Commanders from local, state and federal criminal justice agencies, including law enforcement, corrections, prosecutors, security professionals and others and their mission is to enhance the quality and effectiveness of Alaska’s criminal justice system.
The Alaska Peace Officers Association (APOA) is a dynamic, professional and fraternal organization. Their membership consists of law enforcement, corrections, prosecutors, security professionals and others at the local, state and federal levels. APOA represents peace officers and their issues and is one of the oldest and largest nonprofit associations in the state.
Point of Contact:
Kalie Klaysmat, Executive Director