ANCHORAGE – Backers of a statewide ballot initiative to regulate marijuana in Alaska submitted more than 45,000 signatures to the Division of Elections in Anchorage on Wednesday. Approximately 30,000 signatures are required to qualify the measure for the August 2014 primary ballot.
“Regulating marijuana in Alaska will allow law enforcement officials to focus on violent and otherwise harmful crimes instead of adults who are simply choosing to use a substance objectively less harmful than alcohol,” said former Department of Corrections Deputy Commissioner Bill Parker, one of the primary sponsors of the initiative. “Marijuana prohibition has been just as big a failure as alcohol prohibition. We are confident that voters will agree it is time for a more sensible approach that honors the ideals that unite us as Alaskans; protecting personal freedoms and a commitment to personal responsibility.”
In summary, the proposed initiative makes possession of limited amounts of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age or older and establishes a system in which marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol.
“The proposed initiative will take marijuana sales out of the underground market and put them in legitimate, taxpaying businesses,” added Tim Hinterberger, another sponsor and professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. “Replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of taxation and sensible regulation will bolster Alaska’s economy by creating jobs and generating revenue for the state.”