Alaska is a conservative, red state, but with a libertarian, live-and-let-live hue and a history of openness toward marijuana.
In order to get marijuana legalization on the ballot in Alaska this year, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana in Alaska submitted more than 45,000 signatures to election officials on January 8. With only 30,000 verified signatures necessary to put their initiative on the ballot, Alaska voters will probably have the opportunity to legalize marijuana — or choose to continue prohibition — on August 19 during the primary election.
The ballot measure, titled “An Act to tax and regulate the production, sale, and use of marijuana,” would:
- Make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and up to six plants (three flowering) legal for adults 21 years of age or older, but maintain restrictions on public consumption and allow employers to prohibit marijuana use by employees.
- Legalize the manufacture, sale, and possession of marijuana accessories; and legalize the operation of marijuana retail stores, marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana infused-product manufacturers, and marijuana testing facilities– with a $50/ounce tax on wholesale distribution of marijuana products.
- Allow local governments to ban marijuana facilities, but not allow them to override private possession and home cultivation of marijuana.
Though a 2010 proposition to legalize marijuana in California failed 53.5% (No) to 46.5% (Yes), support for legalization has continued to gain momentum over the last three years.
Just last month, 56% of respondents to California’s annual Field Poll said they would vote Yes to legalize the statewide cultivation, sale, and possession of marijuana in California — the largest majority since The Field Poll began tracking Californians’ views toward marijuana legalization in 1969. Only 39% said they would vote No and 5% were undecided.
That’s good news for the organizers gathering signatures to put the 2014 California Hemp Act on the ballot. They’ll need 500,000 valid signatures by February 24 to give voters a chance to legalize marijuana in California this year. If the law fails to make it onto the ballot or doesn’t meet voter approval at the ballot box, Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project says:
“We really believe that 2016 is the best opportunity to pass these laws. We’ve seen that the more people that vote, the more people that will vote to end prohibition. “
Marijuana legalization activists have their eye on Massachusetts for the 2016 elections, which may be the year Bay State residents make the final push for full legalization.In 2008, Massachusetts voters decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, making possession of less than an ounce punishable by a $100 fine. In 2012, the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative passed with 63% of the vote, making Massachusetts the 18th state to legalize medical marijuana.
In November 2013, Bay State Repeal filed the paperwork to put marijuana legalization on the ballot in 2016. With 19 months left to file the final wording, the campaign’s goal is to create the nation’s simplest and least restrictive solution for marijuana reform.
Bill Downing, who serves as treasurer for the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition, believes legalization activists have reason to be optimistic:
“In 2011 a DAPA Research poll of registered voters commissioned by MassCann / NORML found 58% support for legalizing marijuana and regulating it in the same manner as other agricultural commodities with sales prohibited to underage persons.”
Like California in 2010, Oregon recently put the question of marijuana legalization to the voters in 2012, but the initiative failed 53.25% (No) to 46.75% (Yes). Also like California, a lot has changed in Oregon since then.In fact, just six months after Oregon Ballot Measure 80 failed, a statewide Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll of likely 2014 voters found that when asked if marijuana should be taxed, regulated, and legal for adults, 63% said “Yes” and 34% said “No.” More to the point: when asked how they would vote on a November 2014 initiative to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adults aged 21 or older, 57% of likely voters said “Yes” and 38% said “No.”
Why did opinion swing so much in just six months? Part of it is in the details. The legalization initiative that failed in 2012 allowed individuals to cultivate and possess an unlimited amount of marijuana. The May 2013 poll asked how voters would respond to an initiative that legalized marijuana in amounts that “do not exceed specified limits.”
With signature-gatherers on the move to get just such a proposal on the ballot while the state legislature grapples with the possibility of legalizing marijuana itself, High Times magazine is calling legalization this year in Oregon “inevitable.”
It may not be long before Washington state is not the only Washington where marijuana is legal. The District of Columbia, seat of the nation’s capitol which still prohibits marijuana federally, could feasibly legalize marijuana next.
Earlier this month, a city council panel unanimously voted to decriminalize marijuana and make possession of less than an ounce comparable to a parking ticket, punishable by a fine as little as $25. The measure is likely to pass because it has support from 9 out of 13 city council members.
But that’s not all: The DC Cannabis Campaign, which has already raised over $100,000 for its efforts, has filed a marijuana legalization initiative for the 2014 ballot, titled “The Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014.” Making it to the ballot isn’t very costly and only requires 25,000 valid signatures. Once there, the initiative would be placed before DC voters, who in a Washington Post poll published this month, overwhelmingly favor legalization 63% to 34%.
When the city council’s public safety committee passed the decriminalization measure, Chairman Tommy Wells said, “This is a social justice bill that addresses disproportionate impact.” In a city that had a higher marijuana arrest rate than any state in 2010, and which arrests 8 times more blacks than non-blacks for possession, according to the ACLU, voters will have fairness and equality on their minds as much as city finances.
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Oil & Pharmaceutical companies, overcrowded prisons, greedy, blue-haired politicians/archaic legislation, and a society still being fed(and still feeding on) 1930's propaganda.- VS.- Medical benefits, major economic boost, fuel alternatives, 'green' alternatives(ie., paper, plastic etc.), healthier 'party' alternatives(ie., alcohol, tobacco & all other drugs!), reduce crime, limit/eliminate drug cartels, limit/eliminate racial drug discrimination, eliminate job discrimination. There are far too many obvious reasons to end Marijuana prohibition. If our government ignores or refuses Marijuana Legalization now, it will only show to me, just how greedy and controlling and manipulative our government really is!!!
this substance isn't nearly as harmful as idiots taking pain pills and phycotic drugs, tobacco or alcohol, there is no war on drugs with marijuana. it is a natural substance. legalize it stupid america.....
I believed its great for many reasons one medically and many other ways it calms people down it puts people in good moods I think it would help lower domestic violence it will save us money in the prisons they won't be as crowded more room for the worse criminals and if its legalized the state will make a killing profit wise we just need to legalize it and be done with it more reasons to say yes then no
@Allen Manley O BrienYou sure have that right Allen, Sue should try it before making up articles like she did.Now let's get to Hawaii, Democrat all the way, everybody voted for the Farm Bill, that should tell you they are all Obama followers. We grow the best but it's illegal and likely to remain so. It's all about hemp verses oil. If we changed from sugar growing to hemp growing our money troubles would be over.
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Not California because Holder would not allow it. Personally, I consider it intervention by the Almighty that I stopped and can now breath again.
If all 52 states manage to legalize marijuana, What drug will be next? This only goes to show that were losing the war on drugs
I don't use Marijuana, I never have, but I have drank enough alcohol for 10 people. Alcohol is as physically and mentaly damaging as anything else but it's legal and pot isn't. It doesn't make sense to me.
With all the problem which includes people Using pharmaceutical drugs to sit and criticize use of marijuana which is far less Harmful than alcohol I find the topic ridiculous
I would also propose a ban on scissors... It's easier than teaching the whole not running with thing
Why argue on the state level? It shouldn't be illegal anywhere in this country. Make it a federal case like it should be and lift the prohibition. For those of you arguing that it should remain illegal because of health risks I say this, if we outlaw everything that may pose a threat to our health let us start with things that are actually proven to harm your health such as McDonald's and cars. Obesity is a killer and countless people die from auto wrecks everyday. I hope that made you realize that your argument is not just invalid, but extremely stupid to be quite honest. I can go on all day. I dont even smoke because of regulations with my occupation but i support the people that do in their fight to have the marijuana ban lifted.
Californians are already brain damaged. They don't need it. And I'm really surprised that anyone in Alaska is that stupid. Oregon doesn't surprise me. It's full of pot-heads. I never figured the beautiful state of Massachusetts was that screwed up. But the biggest of all is Washington DC. Our leaders are going to be on drugs when they pass the laws? This government is done.
I agree Dave. Corbett is a joke. Our politicians are idiots with 1930 values in 2014. State is going backwards instead of forward. Obama needs to legalize it on a national level. NOT state by state. That's absolutely unconstitutional. If it's good enough for one state. It's good enough for all. Let's legalize murder in California but not Ohio. How bout legalizing prostitution in Texas but not Mississippi. Stop this nonsense already. You can legalize it you just don't want to. Guess you have favoritism towards pot laws in the states that help get you elected. I should be able to order weed from Colorado. It's legal isn't it ? Why should I sit here and suffer because Pa politicians are morons ?!?!
I say we are winning the war on idiots. Marijuana is less dangerous than caffeine or sugar and far more beneficial. Get out of the dark ages and realize you've been spoon fed lies all your life. Marijuana has saved lives of those with bowel issues and anxiety... Even seizures.
@ThomasTalleos 50 states, not 52, 48 before Alaska, and Hawaii.. Get it right.
I'm am sorry Sue Rich, David Mason is right, prescription medication kill more people than any illegal drug, as well as alcohol and cigarettes which are all perfectly legal. While marijuana has attributed to a total of ZERO deaths. That is right zero. AS well as it has numerous medicinal uses and THC, the main chemical ingredient, is FDA approved to help alleviate symptoms from Chrohn's disease as well as many seizure disorders and many other terminal medical conditions. So please conduct some research before posting ignorant opinions on the internet, it already has enough.
Pretty intelligent read the facts!!!! Medicinal values,revenue,and most important the DEA should focus on things that really matter mainly prescription narcotics.