Sen. Lesil McGuire Releases Alaska Marijuana Law Analysis

ALASKA:  As legislators soon will turn to the regulation of legal marijuana in Alaska and determining what their role should be in it, one resource will be a legislative analysis requested by the incoming chair of the state Senate Judiciary Committee and released publicly this week.

Anchorage Sen. Lesil McGuire said Thursday she asked for the study, prepared by the Legislature’s research services analysts, following voters’ approval of Ballot Measure 2 in this year’s general election. The 36-page report McGuire’s office released this week answers some basic questions about implementing marijuana legalization by comparing efforts in Washington and Colorado to what might happen in Alaska, in terms of costs to the state and tax revenue it might generate, and lays out in what areas of the law legislators have influence.

“My goal was to get people a base level of information, and that can begin the dialogue,” McGuire said.

The initiative passed by 6 percent and legalizes marijuana possession for adults 21 and older in late February. It also provides a basic structure for the legal sale of pot, not expected to occur until 2016. Meantime, the initiative directs the Legislature to either create a marijuana control board, something McGuire said she supports, or leave pot regulation to the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.