It took longer to count the votes compared to Oregon and Washington D.C., but the result was the same - Alaska voters legalized marijuana. The victory was declared in the early morning hours today, capping off a stellar Election Day for marijuana reform. Even in Florida, where a medical marijuana initiative failed, there was still an overwhelming majority result in favor of the initiative (just not enough to pass the required 60% hurdle). Anyone who said that pursuing marijuana reform in 2014 because it would hurt 2016's chances should be very happy today to be wrong. 2016 has never looked better due to the momentum that was built from the victories in D.C., Oregon, and Alaska. Below is a reaction from Tom Angell, the head of Marijuana Majority:
"Now that it's been shown that putting marijuana legalization on the ballot can succeed even in midterms, we can expect to see a huge surge of additional states voting to end prohibition during the 2016 presidential election. And because the issue has been proven to be mainstream as far as voters are concerned, we may even see lawmakers in several states jumping ahead to legalize marijuana legislatively in the meantime."
And from my friends at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition:
Alaska's Measure 2, an initiative to allow adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and up to six plants, passed tonight in a close race. This measure will establish, license and regulate retail stores, cultivation facilities, product manufacturers and testing facilities so consumers will always know that what they're getting is safe, will allow police to focus on violent crime and will ensure that profits benefit the government, not drug cartels. Driving under the influence and public consumption will remain illegal and employers may restrict their employees' use and localities can ban marijuana establishments though not private possession or cultivation.
The other measure to legalize, regulate and control marijuana on the ballot tonight, Measure 91 in Oregon, passed easily earlier tonight. This makes Oregon and Alaska the third and fourth states to legalize marijuana, after Colorado and Washington and caps off a wonderful night for drug policy reformists that included DC legalizing possession of marijuana and California defelonizing low-level nonviolent drug possession.
"This is a historic day for public safety and for civil rights," said Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper (Ret.). "Clearly, the people demand change, and their leaders would be wise to follow."
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is a 501(c)3 nonprofit of cops, prosecutors, judges and other law enforcement officials who want to end the war on drugs.
What a great day to be an Alaskan, and an American in general. Four legal states, and a District of Columbia as the cherry on top. Has anyone seen Kevin Sabet? How's he feeling today? Someone bring that man a kleenex!