This Tuesday, Alaska became the third state in the United States to legalize marijuana. It did so quietly and in a dignified manner, as is fit for a state that has had a savvy marijuana culture for decades and that has seen all the degrees of legal acceptance of this substance for more than 4 decades.
Unlike in Washington and Colorado – the two states that legalized marijuana before Alaska – there were no special parties or smoking displays in public to mark the occasion in Alaska’s biggest towns and cities. The supporters did, however, mark the occasion as a sort of end to a prohibition. As one Kenai resident who owns an ancillary marijuana business said:
Absolutely this is history in the making
The efforts to legalize marijuana in Alaska began in early 1972 when a group of young members from the Democratic party first got together in order to introduce a legalization bill to the state House of Representatives. Bill Parker, an activist for more than 40 years remembers those days.
Gee, there weren’t enough votes to worry about.
As the state grew more and more conservative and Republican over the years, the hopes of legalization supporters began to dwindle. Even today when the legalization bill has been passed, Parker believes that there is still work to do.
Well, it makes me feel good. It’s not over, of course. The initiative passed by between 5 and 6 percent, so 40 some percent of the people voted against it.
There is still a lot to do when it comes to regulating the sales and the consumption of marijuana in the State of Alaska as local law enforcement agencies and legal institutions still need to come up with a policy towards those who enjoy marijuana in public and those who intend to grow and/or sell it.
Alaska still has a long way to go, but still a shorter than most other states.