The legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Alaska is in the hands of voters now.
Supporters of the ballot in Alaska delivered a petition, with over 45,000 signatures on it, to Gov. Mead Treadwell Wednesday. If the Governor's office can verify the validity of at least 30,169 signatures, the measure will show up on the ballot in August allowing the public the chance to vote whether or not they want pot legal in their state.
From test polls taken as well as a survey conducted in 2013, by Public Policy Polling - approximately 54 percent of voters in Alaska were in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use, as reported by the Anchorage Daily News.
Partial legalization is already in process with the recent efforts made to allow possession of small amounts of pot for medical purposes.
This most recent petition, delivered by the grassroots-organizing group The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana, included a draft proposal that stated marijuana would be legal for Alaska residents from 21 years old and up enabling them to carry up to one ounce of pot and grow six plants. They made a stipulation that it was OK to have six plants as long as only three are flowering.
Also included in that draft that accompanied the petition was the opening of marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, and pot infused products manufactures and also testing facilities.
The best part - for Alaska anyway - is that a $50 tax would go to the state for each ounce of marijuana sold in the state.
Just as in Colorado though, it would be illegal to light up in public, but that could change because the proposal is open to revision.
"Regulating marijuana in Alaska will allow law enforcement officials to focus on violent and otherwise harmful crimes instead of adults who are simply choosing to use a substance objectively less harmful than alcohol,” said former Alaska legislator and Public Safety Commissioner Bill Parker, one of the primary sponsors of the initiative, according to the press release.
"The proposed initiative will take marijuana sales out of the underground market and put them in legitimate, taxpaying businesses,” added Tim Hinterberger, another sponsor and a professor of developmental biology at the University of Alaska in Anchorage. “Replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of taxation and sensible regulation will bolster Alaska’s economy by creating jobs and generating revenue for the state."
The activist group that has been putting forth unprecedented efforts to reform marijuana laws are also working in Arizona, California, Maine, Delaware, Montana, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, D.C. This could be a landmark year for cannabis.
Image via Wikimedia Commons