Conservative Coalition Forms To Support Marijuana Legalization

ALASKA:  This spring, the Alaska Republican Party came out against an initiative that would regulate marijuana like alcohol. Now, some conservatives are formally declaring their support for Proposition 2.

Talk radio host Eddie Burke is part of the three-person outreach team.

“When you start breaking down those liberty and freedom issues, that’s when people understand it’s nothing to do with smoking or not smoking or whether you’re going to use it or not use it,” Burke said. “It has to do with government making decisions for you that they shouldn’t.”

But the initiative opposition group Big Marijuana Big Mistake is responding that they have even more support from the conservative movement.

Spokesperson Kristina Woolston, says that on top of having the backing of political figures like former Gov. Frank Murkowski, they’re also getting endorsements from the major Republican organizations.


Alaska Support Industry Alliance Comes Out Against Marijuana Legalization

ALASKA:  The Alaska Support Industry Alliance board of directors voted unanimously to oppose the ballot measure that would legalize recreational marijuana in Alaska.

Alliance General Manager Rebecca Logan said 29 of the board’s 43 members voted to oppose the measure in a meeting last week. They also voted to oppose Ballot Measure 4, an act that would require the legislature to approve any large-scale mining projects in the Bristol Bay region.

The Alliance is an oil, gas and mining industry trade association that represents 500 companies and 30,000 Alaska employees. Logan said the board’s decision came after over 80 percent of members responded to a poll that marijuana legalization would impact their ability to hire Alaskans.

Logan said Alliance members have already felt the strain of marijuana use and have had difficulty finding drug-free Alaskans for oil, gas and mining jobs the Alliance represents. The Alliance is in the process of partnering with the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority to work on a multi-year campaign that would target Alaska drug use, specifically pointing out that if “you make good choices, you get good jobs.”



Alaska Will Vote On The Legalization Of Recreational Marijuana In November

ALASKA:  Since Colorado began selling legalized recreational marijuana January 1, 2014, and Washington followed on July 8, 2014, the rest of the country has been wondering which state will be next, and while Oregon has been on the tips of most people’s tongues, it could also be Alaska that becomes the next to capitalize on the so-called “green rush.” A vote on legalizing recreational marijuana was originally scheduled in the Last Frontier state for August 2014 during its state primary election, but was delayed until the general election on November 4.  Historically, general elections have greater voter turnout so it puts the power of the decision into more residents’ hands.

According to the Alaskan Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, otherwise known as Vote Yes on 2, the current laws against recreational marijuana has been as ineffective, wasteful and problematic as alcohol prohibition was during the 1920s. The campaign references scientific studies showing alcohol to be more dangerous than marijuana, and argues that the legalization of recreational marijuana would boost the state’s economy by creating jobs and generating new revenue through legitimate, taxpaying businesses. Adults 21 and older would be required to show proof of age in order to purchase marijuana from licensed vendors. With this new system law enforcement could focus more on violent criminals.

The Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Legislation also supports the legalization of recreational marijuana in Alaska and seeks to work closely with government officials and agencies to enact recreational marijuana regulations once it is legalized. They are particularly focused on the creation of the Marijuana Control Board, rulemaking, marijuana facility restrictions, local government control and the marijuana tax, which would be $50 per ounce sold by a marijuana cultivation facility.


Missed Deadline Pushes Alaska Marijuana Initiatives To General Election

ALASKA:  Because the Legislature did not meet its midnight deadline, three citizen’s initiatives are expected to be moved from the August primary to the November general election.

The switch would happen because of a constitutional rule requiring a 120-day waiting period after a legislative session before an initiative can be put to a vote. It would affect ballot questions to slow down the proposed Pebble Mine, to regulate marijuana like alcohol, and to hike the minimum wage. The rule does not apply to referenda, so a measure to repeal the new oil tax law would stay on the August ballot.

The rescheduling of initiatives is expected to help the anti-repeal effort, which the oil industry has sunk millions of dollars into. That’s because the initiatives are expected to bring more liberal-leaning voters to the polls, and that increased turnout will no longer affect the primary.

Time to take the high road and legalize marijuana – at the federal level

“Not tenable”. This is how western Washington US Attorney Jenny Durkan assessed the state’s poorly-regulated medical cannabis program in 2013. Igor Grant, director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at UC San Diego, used the same words to challenge the Drug Enforcement Administration’s categorization of marijuana as a Schedule I drug. And after years of reporting across the country for our recently released book, A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition, we’d use the same words to describe the legal status of medical cannabis in the US today.

As a Schedule I substance alongside heroin, the federal government considers marijuana to have no medical use and high potential for abuse. Under federal law, it’s illegal for any person to manufacture, distribute, or possess cannabis for any purpose.

Yet twenty-one states and Washington DC have made the plant available as a medicine to qualifying patients. And legislation is pending in a dozen other states (including New York and Florida).

And herein lies the great contradiction of US marijuana policy – if these efforts succeed, a majority of US states will find themselves at odds with the federal government.

Cannabis Course Coming To Alaska

ALASKA:  The Alaska Cannabis Institute wants to educate Alaskans about the business of marijuana and make some good money while doing it.

For a pre-registration fee of $420 dollars they say they can help the average Alaskan figure out if being in the business of marijuana is for them.

Of course that would all be contingent on the legalization of the drug in the August 19th primary.