Alaska votes to legalize recreational marijuana
Pot won at the polls. The outcome of Tuesday’s vote allows adults to possess and consume marijuana recreationally.
Marijuana proponents expected a close count. Roughly 52 percent of voters said yes to Ballot Measure 2, according to unofficial results.
Pot advocates say Alaskans will no longer have to fear arrest or prosecution for using a substance they say is safer than alcohol.
Alaska’s new legal weed law is similar to Colorado’s. Chris Rempert with the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol says it will look to the Centennial State as an example.
“I think we have a long road ahead of us with implementation,” Rempert said. “It doesn’t stop here. This is the beginning.”
Critics say legalizing pot will lead to increased youth use. They worry about public health and safety risks.
Even though legalized marijuana passed, they’re not backing out of the conversation.
The group Big Marijuana. Big Mistake. Vote No on 2. will continue to discuss how it believes the drug should be viewed and how to protect Alaskans from the commercialization of the substance.
“The thing that we are concerned about, like we’ve seen in Colorado, is that the industry really does hijack the conversation. States don’t have a lot of control once a ballot measure passes,” said Kristina Woolston with the vote no campaign.
The initiative does not lessen the rights of patients or caregivers under Alaska’s medicinal marijuana law.
Alaska isn’t alone in its decision. Voters in Washington, D.C. and Oregon also approved recreational pot use for adults.