It’s official! On Wednesday, Alaska Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell formally certified that the petition campaign to put the issue on the ballot, had reached the required amount of signatures. The campaign collected 36,000 valid signatures from registered voters, which is more than 6,000 more than was required to qualify.
This means that this summer, voters in Alaska will decide if the state will become the third U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana. If passed, Alaska will have similar laws and regulations to Colorado and Washington, where voters became the first to legalize recreational use and sale in 2012.
If passed, the vote would legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, by adults 21 and over, and cultivation of up to six cannabis plants (only three flowering) and all of their harvests. The rules and regulations for use of the drug, would be developed by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, instead of creating a new Marijuana Control Board to oversee legislation. There will be a 15-20% wholesale tax, another 10% retail tax, and cities will be allowed to place their own taxes too.
The official date for the vote in Alaska is August 19, 2014. This vote will play an important role in the nationwide push to legalize recreational marijuana state by state.
“A bipartisan tidal wave of public support for regulating marijuana like alcohol in Alaska has pushed this issue onto the ballot, and we will be running an aggressive campaign designed to build momentum on that,” said Taylor Bickford, a campaign spokesperson, who wants a more “sensible approach” to marijuana nationwide.
The success of this campaign to collect signatures, is mainly thanks to the work of Marijuana Policy Project. You can read our previous post about the campaign, or visit their website, for more info. “There is more public dialogue about marijuana taking place than ever before,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications for MPP. “It won’t be long before we see similar steps being taken in other states.”
Alaska was one of our top picks in states we thought would have a good chance at legalizing marijuana this year. Check out the other ones in this post.
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