firstname.lastname@example.org February 23, 2015
ALASKA MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION TAKES EFFECT
Commercial Regulation Development Underway
Law Enforcement Anticipates Public Safety Improvements
Last November, Alaska’s Ballot Measure 2, a law to legalize and regulate marijuana for
adults, passed with 52% of the vote. When the measure takes effect on Tuesday this
week, people age 21 and older will legally be able to possess up to one ounce of
marijuana and cultivate no more than six plants at home, though commercial sales will
have to wait until regulations have been established – probably spring or summer of
2016. Colorado, Oregon and Washington have also legalized marijuana, and medical
marijuana is permitted in 23 states and Washington D.C.
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of criminal justice professionals
opposed to the drug war, campaigned for Measure 2 by meeting with communities and
the media to discuss the public safety benefits of marijuana regulation.
“We anxiously await the same public safety improvements from Alaska that we have
already seen in Colorado and Washington,” said Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive
director of LEAP. “Cops will spend more time going after dangerous criminals and
protecting communities, and parents can rest assured that their local marijuana retailer is
barred from selling to their children.”
Tuesday also marks the first day of drafting the manufacturing and sales regulations. The
timeline states that regulations should be completed by November 2015, business
applications should open in February 2016, and licenses should be issued by May of the
same year. Some regulators are concerned the timeline is too short, and advocate for a
later deadline to ensure the best possible regulatory model.
The state’s judiciary committee recently stalled SB 30, a bill that initially concerned
legalization advocates due to ambiguity surrounding its ability to supersede Measure 2.
The committee has ordered a replacement bill, which may provide clarity and ensure that
Measure 2 and the will of Alaska’s voters are respected. Other pending state legislation
relating to Measure 2 include SB 8, which would regulate the production of industrial
LEAP is committed to ending decades of failed policy that have fueled dangerous
underground markets and gang violence, fostered corruption and racism, and largely
ignored the public health crisis of addiction, all while spending billions of dollars
diverting the penal system's attention away from more important violent crimes.