Alaska: Measure Seeking To Legalize Marijuana Qualifies For 2014 Ballot

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Alaska: Measure Seeking To Legalize Marijuana Qualifies For 2014 Ballot

Anchorage, AK: State election officials have confirmed that a proposed initiative to regulate the production and retail sale of cannabis to adults has obtained the necessary number of signatures from registered voters to appear on 2014 ballot.

The initiative's proponents, The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana in Alaska, gathered more than 45,000 signatures from registered Alaska voters. Last week, the director of the Alaska's Division of Elections confirmed that of those signatures, 31,593 have been verified, thus qualifying the measure for a public vote. The lieutenant governor's office is expected to certify the measure for the 2014 ballot in the coming days, once all of the remaining signatures have been counted and verified.

Once certified, the initiative will be placed on the August 19 primary election ballot, as is required by Alaska election law.

If approved by voters, the measure would legalize the adult possession of up to one ounce of cannabis as well as the cultivation of up to six-plants (three flowering) for personal consumption. The measure would also allow for the establishment of licensed, commercial cannabis production and retail sales of marijuana and marijuana-infused products to those over the age of 21. Commercial production and retail sales of cannabis would be subject to taxation, but no taxes would be imposed upon those who choose to engage in non-commercial activities (e.g., growing small quantities of marijuana for personal use and/or engaging in not-for-profit transfers of limited quantities of cannabis.) Public consumption of cannabis would be subject to a civil fine.

The measure neither amends the state's existing medical marijuana law, which was approved by voters in 1998, nor does it diminish any privacy rights established by the state's Supreme Court in its 1975 ruling Ravin v State.

Under present state law, the possession of marijuana not in one's residence is classified as a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to 90-days in jail and a $2,000 fine.

According to the results of a statewide Public Policy Polling survey, released last week, 55 percent of registered voters "think (that) marijuana should be legally allowed for recreational use, that stores should be allowed to sell it, and that its sales should be taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol." Only 39 percent of respondents oppose the idea. The survey possesses a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percent.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or visit: http://regulatemarijuanainalaska.org.