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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I am still appalled that in the "land of the free" the government still finds it necessary to regulate the choices of the individual. The social policies of today are so antithetic to our founding purpose of autonomy that it makes me sick. Just because one doesn't like it or use it does not mean that they should be able to dictate whether another does. That is the real issue as I see it and the fact that we have to fight tooth and nail against the uniformed tyrannical majority for what should be a totally personal choice is just sad. So yea, I'm happy we are taking steps in the right direction but I find it disheartening that we were ever so off-base to begin with.
Of course we should legalize marijuana. You would think we would've learned by now that prohibition doesn't work.
In answer to why we should be so concerned with legalizing marijuana, their are many people behind bars that in my opinion don't belong there. Many families suffer that shouldn't have to. Marijuana is the safest drug with very little chance of physical addiction, if any, unlike alcohol there is no chance of death associated with it. Also Hemp which is a distant cousin of marijuana can be used for paper, fuel, rope, and building automobiles that are stronger than steel and is much more environmentally sound. It has the potential to help our farmers have a sustainable crop for a variety of products and could help our economy grow substantially. We should be concentrating on putting violent criminals in prisons and keeping them there longer, instead of pot smokers who are not hurting anyone.
I have to laugh, had not checked on this conversation in quite some time, and I see the pot heads are still commenting on what they know nothing about. That alone proves that your mental illness is starting to set in and your reaction time is slow! Honor roll students should really know how to spell...and the rest of you...go get your next pot fix, eat and STFU!! Anyone who claims that smoking pot and driving is A-Ok is a complete moron!! Carry on...
I see marijuanna legalization becoming pretty much a self-regulating business. There will be ups and downs in statistics that both the pro's and con's will point at with alarm, until the cycle begins all over again. In some conditions, it will help more than it harms, and in some it will harm more than help. And the Gov't will spend billions of tax-payer money, paid to themselves, on "studies".
That's because alcohol gives you a hangover that can last 12 to 24 hours. THC is a different chemical that does not have these properties.
What about the founding fathers, that used cannabis before is was stigmatized by criminals? Free thinkers that grew cannabis and started this country that you hate so much.
Then pick up the pace Sandy, because nobody likes a slow worker. But if you are insinuating that pot makes people slow, it just shows your base ignorance on the subject.
If I saved your life I would be called a "Hero". Marijuana is saving untold lives everyday. Some are little children that are given a chance to live a life pharmaceutical Companies could never offer. What does it take to open peoples eye's to the lie's ?
FREE MARYJANE !!!!
yes .... I have smoked pot and only pot for years and feel great, others who have drank a lot or used hard drugs haven't faired as well - it is a better option
NO. Don't we have enough crap available for our kids? Adding another drug, whether alcohol, nicotine or whatever is NOT GOOD. No No and NO
Don't know if anyone caught Marijuana Miracle Cure 2 on AWE, but if you have an opportunity check this out. Then ask yourself, would my mom, friend, sister, brother, relatives, still, maybe, be here if they had been given these treatments. There is a cancer drug, marijuana an it's derivatives. Just saying.
Alaska, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington DC ... I would have thought for sure that New York state would have been on this list.
I have seen many people who have had relief from pain, ulcerative colitis, arthritis and other ailments, at the very very least there should be studies on the being it's
I've been testing it for over 40 years & IT'S DEFINITELY RECREATIONAL with many Healthy Side Effects...but don't take my word, cause I'm a Pothead~ Try it & See
Jim, I have been a Paramedic for 20+ years... I can tell you that I have only seen ONE fatality accident directly related to pot. I have lost track of how many I have seen due to ETOH... The BAC should be lowered to .04.. It has been shown that even at that level, you have some impairment.. We also need to toughen DUI laws. First offense gets 40 years without parole, and if you murder someone while driving drunk, you are eligible for the death penalty just like any other murderer should be...
Yes, I would like it legalized and taxed. I do not smoke it but I know the research. It is a wonderful medicine that is non addictive and does not have the long term side effects of chemical medicines. Recreational use, does nothing more than give you the munchies, There is no association with sexual assault or domestic violence with weed. We, as a nation are wasting resources fighting a natural substance that would help our country.
Yes it will help the terminal ill, but you also have to remember there are people out there that are going to abuse it, just like prescription drugs. Then you have to worry about the accidents they will cause and the people they will hurt. Has to be strictly monitored and u should only be allowed so much per 30 days just like prescription drugs.
Let's watch it unfold in Colorado and Washington for AT LEAST 2 years; this is NOT a simple issue! NOT clear that is "less" dangerous ( think of drivers) than alcohol. Migfht be-but not clear, yet!
It should be legalized and taxed, like any other vice. It remains disheartening to me that the lessons of Prohibition have been completely lost on the current generations.
Unfortunately I don't think legalization is going any further, there is too much money for law enforcement and private prison industries not to mention the alcohol lobby!
You don't know what your talking about. By the way your speaking you never tried it and done no real research upon the topic. Medical benefits and recreation. Have you spoken to doctorS? With your subjective thoughts you have obviously been eating up what the old politicians that grew up on reefer madness has been telling. I'm assuming you drink not knowing that it kills more brain cells. Mental illness like depression, anxiety disorders etc are suppressed by marijuana. Don't be blind, open your eyes and do some real objective research. Carry on....
@FedUpCitizen13 And you know this how? How is it exactly you know this? Millions of people safely smoke marijuana everyday. Now and it isn't even legal. There is no massacre on the highways everyday thanks to marijuana. It is a completely different story, daily, for alcohol drinkers that can't think straight or walk straight, but cannot tell and get in their car anyway. If you think marijuana has effects on a person similar to alcohol you are literally a dumbass that cannot understand what you've read or you've been mindlessly soaking up propaganda... So which is it?
Wow Paul, how did you get the idea marijuana is made from poppies? You know it is about a thousand times safer than the crap they make from poppies, so why do you say we should treat two completely different drugs the same??? One is marijuana which is safe and does not cause traffic accidents, the others are morphine and heroin which leave a person so messed up they can barely walk, never mind drive. How would they even get to their car??? But we should pretend they are similar. Yeah, maybe we should have a law for all the people out there that cannot tell one thing from next which declares oranges and apples are now the same?