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Alaska: Election Officials Affirm Legalization Measure Has Enough Signatures To Qualify For The 2014 Ballot

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director February 5, 2014

    State election officials have affirmed 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. On Tuesday, 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 today, 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.

    Additional information about the campaign is available here.

    29 Responses to “Alaska: Election Officials Affirm Legalization Measure Has Enough Signatures To Qualify For The 2014 Ballot”

    1. Jon says:

      Million Man Marijuana March

      Coming Soon!!!

      NORML and family let’s make this a reality for 2014.

    2. Ray Walker Jr. says:

      Excellent! This is what happens when people have access to direct democracy. Here in Mississippi we do not. We Americans in Mississippi and many southeastern states are shackled. It should be a fundemental right for every American to have direct democracy. As it stands right now in Mississippi if we want to have a ballot vote for something it is only done with the permission of our legislators.

      http://www.iandrinstitute.org/Mississippi.htm

      “The state’s process is an indirect initiative, meaning that proposals go to the legislature before the voters, The process for qualifying a measure is one of the most difficult in the country. As a result, only two initiatives have qualified for the ballot in the two decades since adoption, in 1995 and 1999. Both measures proposed to limit the terms of elected officials, and both were defeated by about 10 percent margins.”

      If anyone thinks that the oppression of people doesn’t still exist in the south, I invite you to come to Mississippi. The Civil Rights movement may have brought great change, but it didn’t bring equal rights. The bigotry of government still lives. In 2010, Mississippi had the highest proportion of African Americans in the United States. Today at 37%, African Americans are a voting base that are held at bay by backward political thinking. Citizens shold have the absolute and unobstucted power as to the laws that directly effect them. Not all people are free. We applaud you Alaska. Hold on to what you have, it is of great value.

      http://www.iandrinstitute.org/Alaska.htm

    3. Don B. says:

      “…and that its sales should be taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol.”

      “Similarly” seems to take on a new meaning with marijuana laws. If this was actually how it ends up working it would mean no one-ounce limits and marijuana would be available wherever alcohol is available–every corner market, Walgreens, Walmart and grocery store as well as at the cannabis equivalent of liquor stores.

    4. bongstar420 says:

      I wouldn’t get into that. Do you want other drugs that are comparable to Ethanol in toxicity issues to be distributed similarly? I might, but I seriously doubt that most people want Amphetamine, Mescaline, Psilocybin, Khat, Opium, Lysergic acid diethylamide, and Methadone (to name a few) to be distributed in a fashion similar to Ethanol.

      http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2010/11/drugs_cause_most_harm

    5. TheOracle says:

      I’ve always wanted to take an Alaska Cruise at least once, but if you can buy weed in Washington and Alaska, that is fantastic! It’s one more reason for me to put the cruise on my Bucket List, and save up for such a vacation. Sample something before getting on the ship in Washington, and then sample some in Alaska. (I don’t know if they’ll allow it on the ship, but in the Netherlands there are some cruises where you can consume cannabis on the cruise around and off the coast of Holland.) Maybe they’ll sell it on the ship!

    6. Sean says:

      Wow, Red state Alaska is about to beat California to adult use legalization. Tick tock tick tock, California.

    7. Miles says:

      I really hate cold weather! However, I’d rather live in Alaska if they legalize instead of where I am now; Nazi Virginia…

    8. w says:

      Bongstar420
      No I think we have much better control over all drugs by keeping the criminal in charge. They tend to be very concerned about who consumes their product and certainly do not want to sell any large quantities.

    9. Dave Evans says:

      Bongstar, the guy that put that chart together isn’t working with a full deck! Sure some of the rankings are accurate, but others don’t make any sense, like how does Cannabis perform damage to society??? And they also state Cannabis is more dangerous to the user than are butane, anabolic steroids and methadone which is ludicrous.

      And I also suspect several of the “drugs” at the bottom are not even being counted right… How people have cops shot because they are using steroids??? I’m sure this “cost” was left off the data completely. LSD and mushroom both hard to test for–and somehow magically have no cost to society–maybe because their costs were put in the marijuana category BY MISTAKE?

    10. Demonhype says:

      @w and Dave Evans: Bongstar420 is clearly either a prohibitionist agent provocateur or a marijuana exceptionalist who supports the entire failed Drug War and it’s police state methods so long as MJ is off the hook. I think we’ll be seeing more of the latter as MJ becomes more and more legal, unfortunately. I hope most MJ users realize this isn’t just about pot, it’s about the complete and utter FAILURE of the Drug War methods to control the drug problem, and that means ALL drugs.

      And, of course, we’ll see more of the former rushing forward to push even more lies about marijuana, trying to relive the glory days of Reefer Madness. That’s what makes me suspect this guy is a prohibitionist rather than an MJ exceptionalist: the fact that he/she is arguing from an assumption that MJ is equivalent to the hard drugs, that to push for MJ to be sold exactly like alcohol or cigs at Wal-Mart, etc. is tantamount to selling “Amphetamine, Mescaline, Psilocybin, Khat, Opium, Lysergic acid diethylamide, and Methadone (to name a few)” in every Wal-mart. All we need to hear is “legalization will send the wrong message to our children” and/or “legalization will make marijuana more accessible to our children!” to make it complete.

      Look, buddy, WE’RE ONTO YOU! We’ve heard the lying Drug War rhetoric for FORTY YEARS! We KNOW you’re lying at this point, we KNOW the pro-Drug War statistics are deliberately skewed and sometimes outright made-up, and you’re NOT going to EVER be able to re-create the kind of terror of the drug boogey man in an ignorant and panic-stricken public.

      You LOST. Accept it and move on.

    11. Demonhype says:

      BTW, all, the #338 Russ Belville Show (available on Youtube) includes footage of a recent government panel or some such in which two Representatives were questioning Drug Czar Botticelli and they RIPPED HIM APART!!!!! You could see the a-hole is not used to being questioned, hemmed, hawed, even tried to shame our Reps into shutting up by bringing up the irelevant-to-facts emotionalist argument “I wuz talking to people whose kids overdosed, and they are so confused and sad that people like you are trying to legalize TEH DRUGZ! Now look sad and shut up!”….and they DIDN’T TAKE IT! They just countered right back, pointing out that NONE of those kids od’d on MJ, and if they DID start with MJ and then move on to heroin, it most likely was because PEOPLE LIKE THE DRUG CZAR ARE LYING ABOUT MJ!!!! And told him point-blank that people like him are the reason we have such a problem with kids overdosing on hard drugs! Oh, it was beautiful to watch, you should all go there and enjoy this butchering of a worthless POS of a Drug Warrior!

      And man, I was right. They really don’t know how to argue, because the Drug Warriors have enforced a monopoly on the conversation for forty years and ensured that they never actually had to answer any hard questions–in the meantime, driving the real discussion underground, ensuring that our side would be constantly questioned and in a constant state of improving our attack and defense. Now we have the good position, honed by forty years of fighting off constant attack and make more poignant by the fact that no one has ever experienced our particular fighting tactics. And we’re fighting against a big, bloated, hopelessly outdated behemoth of useless and dangerous lies that is so used to sitting in one place dominating the landscape that it isn’t able to either defend itself or even move away as we stab it repeatedly. We are the Dread Pirate Roberts and they are Fat Albert.

    12. Fallibilist says:

      Given its enormous size and geographic isolation, Alaska is practically a continent unto itself.

      I’ll tell you what: Out on the Last Frontier, they understand liberty instinctively.

      We gonna win this one, son–no doubt. Forward!

    13. Ray says:

      @Jon I agree, a March is a great idea. Philly does one the 20th of every month.

      @NORML MPP has been updating their news a lot more recently. Their blog is not as good as yours though, but I think it’s time to update your news more often.

      I see a plane ride to Alaska in my future.

    14. Universer says:

      Disappointingly, this petition has slowed to a crawl just 4,000 short of 100,000. Please sign and share!

      http://www.change.org/petitions/president-barack-obama-if-marijuana-is-safer-than-alcohol-remove-it-from-the-dea-s-schedule-of-drugs

    15. Anonymous says:

      Wrote my Pennsylvania Senator, and he wrote this back, basically saying that he isn’t doing anything because there is no legislation in the Senate to get the federal dawgz out of the way. He’s going to keep my views in mind if anything makes its way over from the House. Shit! WTF! If he’s too afraid to draft and sponsor Senate legislation that wraps all the pro-legalization of the three pieces of House legislation into one piece of Senate legalization legislation, then PLEASE, some other Senator do it and try to get Bob Casey to co-sponsor. I’d be surprised if Toomey would, but he’s a politician, and we even got a gay male pro-legalization Republican from Reading running up against Rep. Joe Pitts, who is the pits.

      Here’s the canned response from Senator Casey, the same old shit along the lines of the shit Pennsylvania politicians have been sending out for years.

      Thank you for taking the time to contact me about the legalization of marijuana. I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.

      Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug under federal law. As such, it is not legally recognized as having any acceptable use, and it is a federal crime to possess or distribute marijuana for any purpose. As you may know, several states have recently passed laws legalizing marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes. In the 2012 election, voters in Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Some have expressed concern regarding how these state laws will interact with existing federal law.

      In October 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced formal guidelines for federal prosecutors in states that have enacted laws authorizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. These guidelines indicate that the federal government will concentrate its resources on prosecuting individuals whose claims of compliance with state laws conceal operations inconsistent with the terms, conditions, or purposes of those laws, instead of focusing on individuals whose actions are in compliance with existing state laws. Additional information on the position of the Department of Justice is available online at http://blogs.usdoj.gov/blog/archives/192.

      Since the beginning of the 113th Congress, a number of pieces of legislation related to the legalization of marijuana have been introduced in the House of Representatives. Representative Jared Polis of Colorado introduced H.R. 499, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, on February 5, 2013. This legislation would eliminate marijuana from drug schedules under the Controlled Substances Act, as well as ending its consideration as a dangerous drug for federal purposes and national youth anti-drug media campaigns. It would also allow for regulated production, sale and importing of marijuana. H.R. 499 has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.

      On February 14, 2013, Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon introduced H.R. 689, the States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, which would require that marijuana be listed as other than a Schedule I or Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This legislation would also allow for the prescription and use of medical marijuana where such use is permitted under state law. Finally, it would also require that the executive branch delegate authority to control access to marijuana for medical research and ensure the availability of marijuana for medical research. H.R. 689 has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.

      On April 12, 2013, Representative Dana Rohrbacher of California introduced H.R. 1523, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2013. This legislation would amend the Controlled Substances Act to state that the provisions in that Act related to marijuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration or delivery of marijuana. H.R. 1523 has been referred to both the House Committee on the Judiciary and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

      There is no related legislation currently pending in the Senate. Please be assured that should this issue come before the full Senate for consideration, I will have your views in mind. Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.

      For more information on this or any other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov. I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.

      Sincerely,
      Bob Casey
      United States Senator

      I wish Chris Matthews would turn pro-legalization or just shut the fuck up. I mean, does he even live in Pennsylvania anymore. His brother is a Republican politician in the state, so he must be channeling his brother on marijuana. Does that mean his brother has to turn pro-marijuana before Chris Matthews will because, family first, he isn’t going to do anything that will hurt his brother’s political ambitions it’s looking like. So Chris, if a RINO is a Republican In Name Only, that makes you a DINO, Democrat In Name Only. On marijuana legalization, Chris Matthews is a DINOsaur.

    16. TheOracle says:

      Any states going to allow the sale of viable seeds for retail customers?

    17. TheOracle says:

      Can someone please consolidate all the best pro-cannabis measures all the House bills into a pro-legalization bill? All the House bills are stuck in committee. If there is a Senate equivalent or more, that might get things moving.

      I mean, where are all the jobs? Legalization brings instant jobs, taxable incomes, and an instant revenue stream. Job lock, talk about job lock, with ObamaCare, what about job lock because of a piss test or can’t get a job because of a piss test. It stifles mobility of the workforce, and it stifles people who use cannabis to be creative.

    18. Voice of the Resistance says:

      News reports from Idaho: the state attorney generals office is calling for a criminal investigation into Idahos private prison contractor Corrections Corporation of America’s under-staffing of the state prison after learning that a police investigation was never done. Last year after a two part lawsuit filed by the ACLU, and inmates in the prison, which cited a high rate of violence the contractor Corrections Corporation of America made a red faced exit from a red ass state. A related news story said that Idaho has a very low crime rate but that a high percentage of Idahos population is behind bars with 62 percent of those locked up in prison for non-violent crimes. A plan costing taxpayers an additional 2 million dollars for probation, and parole programs is in the works as state lawmakers refuse to remove their heads from their asses. If there is anyone out there in godforsaken Idaho not in jail I could use a little help.

    19. AZTECA says:

      Hopefully Texas and other southern states will follow

    20. James says:

      It’s only a matter of time. You just need to put 2 and 2 together. We have legalization in two states, and Alaska apparently on its way. President Obama unprecedentedly admitted that marijuana is less harmful than a multi billion dollar industry: alcohol. It’s not often when a sitting president completely contradicts an agency’s rhetoric on their own topic. He had no choice at this point. Federal law will change, which will remove the last excuse for prohibition that’s being used by state representatives. This, combined with more states legalizing, will provide the realization for remaining states that they are missing out on a huge channel of tax revenue. Especially in poor states like mine, Kentucky, which would reap huge benefits. Speaking of KY, the existing laws are actually unlike any I’ve seen, as up to EIGHT ounces is only a misdemeanor. That’s a huge amount.

      Again, it’s only a matter of time at this point.

    21. Anonymous says:

      As soon as I found out the petition was going around Juneau I went straight to the DMV and registered to vote then right downtown to sign it soooo glad we get to vote keep your fingers crossed

    22. mexweed says:

      “…what about job lock because of a piss test or can’t get a job because of a piss test. It stifles mobility of the workforce, and it stifles people who use cannabis to be creative.”–@TheOracle

      Thanks for bringing this up, there is much talk about “medical” and “Recreational” MJ but not enough about Occupation and Creativity. At stake are “yes sir” jobs in the tobacco $igarette, alcohol and pHARMa and many other “provide what the market will pay for” industries, to be sure. Cannabis users are at “risk” to figure out ways to avoid spending money. Accordingly, they can meet the risk of “job lock” by taking a pass on “yes sir” jobs and turning to entrepreneurism instead.

      Creative use of cannabis certainly implies millions of citizens learning how to do or make for themselves (and for their families, their neighborhoods, their environment) many things and services which they are presently urged to obediently, habitually pay obsequious “industries” to provide for them.

      I think while a good thing in some ways, “division of labor” is out of hand and it would be healthier if each individual, instead of hyperspecializing and “concentrating” on a narrow focus area, had a more DIVERSIFIED mind, and mastered at least a bit here, a bit there of a wider range of work and thought subject matters. That is what occurs after one or two gentle tokes (no sledgehammer H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide bogartism i.e. rolling (ruling) papers needed). For DIY info search “Long Drawtube One-Hitter”.

      In pioneering locations like Alaska do-everything, learn-everything minds thrive and that is one reason cannabis is more appreciated there.

    23. Eddie says:

      As soon as I heard about this petition in Juneau I went straight to the DMV and registered to vote then right downtown to sign it

    24. Miracle says:

      IT WAS ALL STARTED ON RACISM!!!! Therefore the DEA and all the other branches of our government are RACIST!!! It should have never been illegal in the first place! The government creates cartels through prohibition! Prohibition and racist arms of government is the problem!
      Finally some representatives are using facts!
      http://www.c-span.org/video/?317590-1/MarijuanaPo

    25. Julian says:

      @Azteka
      Vote for Hugh Fitzimmons for Texas Dem. Agricultural Commisioner. He was my College History professor. I can vouch that he’s not only cannabis friendly, his experience and approach to water conservation will help Texas progress in a similar manner that Ag. Comm. James Comer did for Kentucky. Kinky Friedman may be running on a marijuana platform, but he lacks the credentials for the job.
      Watch out everyone; just because someone is jumping on the cannabis train to get a vote doesnt always mean they can do the job. If there’s more than one candidate in your state competing for a cannabis vote, (as wonderful a dilemma as this may be compared to only a few years ago) dig a little deeper to understand each strategy. Of course legalization is better than decriminalisation. But what is the candidate’s priorities? Backround? Experience? Do they know you can’t get high from smoking hemp? We earned our degree from NORML University. Its time to vet our candidates on hemp and marijuana policy.

    26. Mark I says:

      California is still stealing their cannabis customer’s children to maintain their state’s child protection apparatus. Law Enforcement will continue to manipulate the letter of the law the follow their own agendas.

    27. somedood says:

      ugh this story is getting old. FASTER PLEASE!!!

    28. scott says:

      college students and housewives rejoice. Drug testing will keep legal status a moot point for people who have to work.

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