Alaska: Election Officials Postpone Marijuana Legalization Vote To November

Alaska voters will decide this November on a proposed initiative to regulate the production and retail sale of cannabis to adults.

Although the measure was initially scheduled to go before voters during the state’s primary election in August, state officials this week decided to push back the vote to the November general election. The postponement was required because lawmakers failed to adjourn this year’s legislative session within 90 days, the standard time allotted under state rules. Under Alaska law, ballot initiatives must go to voters no less than 120 days after the end of that year’s legislative session.

If enacted by voters this November, the ballot 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. It 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 in February, 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.

If enacted, Alaska will be the third US state to regulate the legal retail production and sale of cannabis to adults.

Also this November, voters in Florida will decide on a constitutional amendment to allow for the physician-approved use and retail distribution of cannabis for medical purposes.

8 thoughts

  1. I have no idea if this is some kind of cynical political ploy or just political stumbling as usual.

    [Paul Armentano responds: Other statewide measures for 2014 also got moved back to November. Having the measure on the general election ballot will likely mean more people at the polls to vote for it. In general, greater voter turnout overall translates into more ‘yes’ votes for these type of measures than ‘no’ votes.]

  2. “The ballot measure would legalize cultivation of up to six-plants (three flowering)”??? Such ridiculous nit-picking! What happens if a 4th plant pops open its first pair of stigmas during an inspection? Uh-oh, then pack it in, you’re goin’ straight to JAIL! DUR, SO STUPID! And if you just harvested the other 3 plants that were flowering, then I guess they’re no longer flowering? …and that’s why Sarah Palin was Alaska’s governor.

  3. FREE THE WEED IMPRISON THE POLITICIANS!!! Let Us Have 420 Everyday 12 Months A Year Every Day An Stoner’s Holiday Roll Em Up Burn Em Down!

  4. Yeah, JE, that’s an effective approach to outreach and getting people to repeal prohibition. Also, You Only Need To Capitalize The First Word In A Sentence And Proper Nouns.

  5. New York needs to be next, June 19 is the end of session for our Senators. Then that’s it for the year.

  6. @Ray
    I’m afraid June 19th will come & go. Nothing will get done. There are too many Politicans who have no compassion. The state is dying due to years of being mismanaged . Too many taxes to pay for too many wasted departments & programs. Weed The People needs a better run government that cares for its constituents. Cuomo da cuckold is wrong about cannabis & would rather you get your medicine from a dirty police evidence locker. As Jim Morrison said many moons ago.. “WAKE UP ! “

  7. “Dirty police evidence locker”. – Weed the People

    I couldn’t have said it any better.

    Why is this so hard to understand Governor Cuomo?Safe legal access is all we are asking for. Compassionate care includes allowing us the consumer to decide the medication (drug) we want to use.

  8. This is a good development. I was concerned that balloting this referendum during a primary election would depress turnout of those demographic groups more likely to vote affirmatively, leaving an older, more conservative, more change-averse crowd to decide this issue for Alaska. Putting the “Correction of Cannabis Prohibition” measure in November, when presumably a more representative electorate can turn out, and more yesses can be cast.

    Good things come to those who wait just a couple months.

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