Northern Lights: Alaska on Tuesday Will Become Third State With Legal Marijuana
JUNEAU, Alaska — Using, cultivating and being in possession of pot has become legal in our nations wildest state on Tuesday, thanks to a voter initiative aimed at clearing away 40 years of laws that conflict with marijuana and court rulings.
Making Alaska the third state to legalize the use recreational cannabis was the goal of a coalition involving libertarians, rugged individualists and small-government Republicans who prize the privacy rights etched in the state’s constitution.
But when they voted 52-48 percent last November for marijuana to be legal for adults in their private environments, they left many of the details to lawmakers and regulators to deal with.
November’s initiative also bans smoking in public areas , but did not give details to how thats defined, and lawmakers have left the question to the alcohol regulatory board, which prepared to arrange a meeting early Tuesday to go over an emergency response.
In Anchorage, officials tried and and fell short in December to ban a new commercial cannabis industry. But Police Chief Mark Mew announced his officers will be strictly enforcing the public smoking ban. He even given people fair warring against smoking on their porches if they live next to a park.
Other officials are still talking about a proposed growing ban for the wild Kenai Peninsula. But further towards north, in North Pole, using marijuana outdoors on private property will be fine as long as it doesn’t create a problem, officials there stated.
While the 1975 result of the court decision defends personal cannabis possession and a 1998 initiative legalized medicinal cannabis, state lawmakers twice criminalized any possession through out the years, creating an odd legal limbo.
Stating on Tuesday, adult Alaskans cannot only posses and use marijuana, they can transport, cultivate it and give it away. A second phase, developing a organized and taxed cannabis market, won’t start until 2016 at the earliest.
And while possessing marijuana is no longer a crime under state law, enjoying marijuana in public can result in a $100 fine.
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