Alaska primed to become third state to legalize retail marijuana
By Valerie Richardson – The Washington Times,
Alaska is poised to become the third state to legalize retail marijuana after pro-pot advocates this week cleared the signature hurdle to place an initiative on the August ballot.
The Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska hit 31,593 valid signatures Tuesday, well above the 30,169 signatures required to place the measure before voters. The initiative is expected to appear on the Aug. 19 primary ballot once a final count is certified by the state.
Alaska follows in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington, where voters approved measures to regulate the sale of recreational marijuana for adults in November 2012. Colorado unveiled the nation’s first retail pot shops in Jan. 1, and Washington is expected to begin marijuana sales in June.
Dependably Republican Alaska would become the reddest state to approve retail marijuana, but Committee spokesman Taylor Bickford predicted the legalization effort would appeal to the electorate’s libertarian streak.
“Alaska voters have a large degree of respect for personal liberty and freedom, and that’s reflected in the poll numbers we’ve been seeing,” said Mr. Bickford.A newly released survey shows the idea already has significant public support. A Public Policy Polling survey posted Wednesday found 55 percent of registered voters polled agree with legalizing pot for recreational purposes, with 39 percent opposed.
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