Baked Alaska Anyone?

  tumblr lgl5pkHX6Y1qfnqt8o1 500 Baked Alaska Anyone? Yesterday proved to be an interesting day for the marijuana movement, as yet another west coast state showed strong inclinations towards outright legalization - Alaska. Back in 2004, 55% of Alaskan citizens rejected legalization initiatives, yet Alaska is not known for being so conservative on the matter of lighting up. In 1975 Alaska’s Supreme Court ruled rather pot friendly stating that an individual’s privacy included the right to possess as much as 4 ounces of the drug in the privacy of their own home. Since then however, things have not quite been so liberal, but a few forces are working to change this: Steve Fox, political director of the Washington based legalization group Marijuana Policy Project, Dan Young, Alaskan’s only Congressman, and the general Alaskan public.   Fox is helping Alaskans reach out to state lawmakers, hoping to get the issue of legalization on the August 2014 primary ballot. On Tuesday, 100 signatures were presented to Alaska’s lieutenant governor’s office backing the idea that citizens should have the right to cultivate and consume marijuana for personal use. State officials responded, agreeing to conduct a 60 day review of the proposal and that if the measure is deemed appropriate, pro-legalization groups will have 60 days to gain the addition 30,169 signatures needed to force a vote.   Young, a Republican, was among the group who sponsored the recent Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2013, giving individual states ultimate power over internal marijuana legislation and working to remove federal hands from the pot. If marijuana is legalized during next year’s elections in the state, Young’s bill could prove a useful tool in defending Alaskan law and regulating federal involvement in future marijuana growth and sale. Young’s press secretary, Mike Anderson, called the new bill put before Congress “particularly important for a state like Alaska”- why? See the picture above for some clarity. While Young’s supporters seem unfazed by this bold display of opinion, others, like Steve Fox, claimed Young’s sponsorship of the reform bill was “a great surprise...He’s a longtime Republican representing the entire state. It’s quite significant. It shows the tide is turning.” Fox says he is more confident this time around about a win in Alaska, as nationwide and statewide surveys show a majority of citizens in favor of marijuana legalization.   Ken Jacobus, a lawyer from Anchorage, also feels that things will be easier this time for marijuana reform because of electorate changes and the exclusion of amnesty for past offenses, issues lawmakers wanted to avoid in 2004. On top of this, 54% of Alaskans claimed they would support marijuana legalization in a survey this past January. All things seem to point to GO in Alaska, but what’s going on in this northerly state reflects a much larger force at work. “It’s not just Alaska,” Steve Fox said in a recent interview, “this is really starting to be a time where we think almost any state is a good state. . . . The people seem to be ready to end marijuana prohibition.”

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