Yesterday, Alaska became the third state in America to officially legalize weed, marking another step forward for the legalization movement, in a state known as the Last Frontier.
According to Measure 2
which Alaskans voted for last November in a 53-47 percent victory, Alaskans over the age of 21 will now be able to grow up to six plants, possess up to an ounce, and consume marijuana legally in private, without fear of imprisonment or reprieve. Not bad, considering Alaska is the first Republican based state to add recreational marijuana to their list of regulated substances.
But before you get out your best vape pen
and rolling papers out in celebration, keep in mind that smoking in public, still carries a $100 fine, as does selling marijuana in the state, says Alexandra Gutierrez of the Alaska Public Media. "You can still give people marijuana, but you can't buy it- or even barter for it."
Commercial marijuana businesses won't be able to officially operate in the state until at least the spring of 2016, but in the meantime, advocates can expect a major break from law enforcement compared to times of the past. "Cops will spend more time going after dangerous criminals and protecting communities", said Neil Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).
Just as in states that have already legalized, law enforcement can expect an increase in resources from taxable revenues, once retail marijuana becomes legal in the state, as well as a decrease in marijuana related crime rates, allowing them to focus on more serious matters.
"It's going to stop a lot of people getting arrested for nonviolent crimes," said Dean Smith, a pot smoker from Alaska, to Yahoo News.
Slowly but surely following the footsteps of Colorado and Washington, Alaska's marijuana advocates hope this newly established marijuana reform will also bring a safer alternative to drinking alcohol, a past time which recent research has indicated
, carries a much steeper consequence in terms of health. "Marijuana is a less harmful substance than alcohol," stated the director of communications, Mason Tvert, of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "Adults should not be punished simply for making the safer choice, and in Alaska they no longer will be."
Despite certain enthusiasts wanting to savor the recent legalization news, and not rock the boat given the major social, legal, and economic changes with the new law, Charlo Green, the News Anchor known for quitting her job on live television last year during the marijuana elections, isn't holding back. According to sources, she launched a 4:20 party yesterday, along with free weed giveaways at her Alaska Cannabis Club.