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Recreational Marijuana Legalization Makes It to Official Ballot in Alaska
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Legalizing recreational marijuana had made it to the official ballot in Alaska as confirmed by Mead Treadwell, the state’s lieutenant governor. The recreational marijuana initiative petition 13PSUM notice of proper filing was posted on the government of Alaska’s website. The proposition would be put on the election ballot for the Primary Election on August 19, 2014.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana, the body behind the initiative submitted 45,000 signatures by Jan. 8, while the minimum requirement was 30, 000. 36, 000 signatures have already been validated.

  
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Campaign spokesman Taylor Bickford said in a statement, “A bipartisan tidal wave of public support for regulating marijuana like alcohol in Alaska has pushed this issue onto the ballot and we will be running an aggressive campaign designed to build on that momentum.”

The initiative proposes that stores selling recreational marijuana would be licensed by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, unless and until the legislature opts for a separate Marijuana Control Board. According to Alaska’s laws, the measure would need to appear in the ballot for primary elections of political parties.

Marijuana was previously legal in Alaska following a 1975 Alaska Supreme Court decision that allowed adults over age 18 to possess 4 ounces of marijuana and to grow 24 plants at home. The new initiative, however, allows for pot shops to open, and raises the age of consuming marijuana to 21.

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The history of marijuana legalization in Alaska has been filled with ups and downs. While in the 1975 decision the state Supreme Court found marijuana was “far more innocuous in terms of physiological and social damage than alcohol and tobacco” it maintained the state had a legitimate interest in controlling the sale of marijuana and in prohibiting its use by children as well as drivers.

However, marijuana was recriminalized in 1990 by popular measure. Then in 2003, that law was overturned by the Alaska Court of Appeals. But, a 2004 initiative to legalize marijuana failed, and a new law criminalizing marijuana was approved in 2006. With legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington seeming to be a success, the Alaska initiative now stands a better chance than before.





 

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