Friday, June 14, 2013

Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell Certifies Recreational Marijuana Ballot Initiative Application For The 2014 Election

On Friday June 14th, 2013, Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell certified a ballot initiative application that would make it legal for adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Supporters will have one year to collect 30,169 signatures from qualified voters in 30 of the state's 40 House districts, although they'd like to get it done by January 2014 to assure the initiative's placement on the 2014 election ballot.

The initiative, entitled "An Act to tax and regulate the production, sale and use of marijuana", is designated 13PSUM and the petition application was initially filed on April 16th. If passed, the initiative will add AS.17.38 to the Alaska Code. You can read the eight-page initiative HERE; below are screenshots of the three most important sections:




The remainder of the initiative provides terms and definitions and sets penalties for various breaches of the law. The oversight responsibility will be conferred upon the existing Alcoholic Beverage Control Board unless the state legislature decides to create a marijuana control board.

Strengths: No ridiculous amnesty or reparations provisions included in 99HEMP, which was shot down with a 59 percent No vote in the 2000 election, show up in this version.

-- Requires the practice be kept discrete, but will permit the regulated sale of the product. And with an excise tax of $50 per ounce, the state will get a healthy chunk. The days of three-fingered ounces for $20 like we got during the 70s aren't coming back; merchants will be recovering that $50 excise tax from consumers.

-- Protects the right of employers to restrict or prohibit marijuana use by employees at any time for any reason. Also protects the rights of persons and a host of other entities to restrict or prohibit marijuana use on their premises.

Rationale: The effects of marijuana are not as debilitating as those of other recreational drugs. Most people who use recreational marijuana are still quite functional so long as they are not operating sensitive equipment. In addition, marijuana neither provokes the aggression nor spawns the upsurge in petty crime caused by other drugs. You've heard of meth-heads staging home invasions to support their habits; how often have you heard of potheads staging home invasions to support their habits? And while meth labs can poison a home and make it uninhabitable, marijuana plants have no negative impact on the environment. Legalizing and regulating recreational marijuana will free up resources to wage an all-out war against the methedrine scourge.



Reaction: Petition sponsor Tim Hinterberger is optimistic, saying that the conversation is no longer about whether marijuana should be legalized, and opponents aren't trotting out old talking points about how it's a gateway, leads to crime, and causes brain damage, etc. He believes it's a done deal and the only remaining dispute is in the details.

About two-thirds of the 32 comments posted to the Anchorage Daily News so far are supportive of the initiative. But one person claims that long-term use of pot can cause permanent psychosis much like schizophrenia, while another person stated that nearly 100 percent of all serious drug addicted people have smoked pot, characterizing it is a threat to national security when a large majority of citizens are strung out on alcohol and drugs. But why continue to ban pot and not alcohol? In a similar Fairbanks Daily News-Miner story back in April, respondents were almost universally supportive of the idea.

I have not made up my mind whether or not to support this initiative. There is plenty of time to see how Colorado and Washington do with their new marijuana laws before we make our own decision.

2 comments:

  1. legalize it

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  2. I DON'T WANT "Grubbynment" "Legalizing OR regulating" HEMP. I WANT THEM TO LEAVE IT ALONE AND LET EACH PERSON DECIDE IF THEY WANT TO SMOKE IT GROW IT, BAKE WITH IT, ECT. OR NOT.

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