It's official: Small amounts of marijuana is now legal in Alaska. This state became the third to legalize the drug on Tuesday. Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana in 2012, but have faced challenges in transporting and selling the drug. This new marijuana law means that Alaskan residents over the age of 21 can privately own small amounts of pot wherever they have access to it. However, it's still illegal to sell marijuana in the state of Alaska.
It's also still illegal to smoke pot publicly in the state of Alaska. That means you can't light up on your porch, especially if you're located next to a public park. Doing so can cost you a $100 fine. The state has not decided on regulations for selling the drug. Those regulations must be agreed on or before Thanksgiving, according to Reuters.
The personal possession and home grown provisions of Alaska's legal marijuana law will go into effect on Tuesday. Alaska wasn't planning on having a regulated retail industry in place until late 2016, says Oregon Live. Alaskan state and local officials had made it clear that while marijuana is legal in the state, public consumption of the drug is not.
Under the new law, Alaskan adult residents can smoke marijuana in the privacy of their own homes, and can grow a maximum of six plants per household. Due to the public ban and threats of fines, a legalized outdoor marijuana celebration party scheduled for Tuesday in Anchorage was canceled, USA Today reported.Alaska's new decriminalized marijuana law isn't as relaxed a Colorado and Washington, but it's more accepting of the drug than the 47 other states' policies towards pot, according to Rolling Stone. For instance, if a driver is pulled over in Alaska for having expired tags and an ounce of marijuana – the maximum amount allowed under the new law – is found inside the vehicle, the driver will only be ticketed for having the expired tags. Unless there is evidence of "toking and driving," which is still illegal in the state of Alaska.
While many are happy to hear that marijuana is legal in Alaska, some native Alaskan leaders are worried that this may raise the crime rate. Another concern for leaders and residents is that this new marijuana law will be used as a motive to legalize other drugs and substances. Alaska is typically known for its high rates of alcohol abuse, domestic abuse, and suicide. Supporters of marijuana legalization assured concerned leaders that they will have limited control over the drug use in their communities, just like they do with alcohol.
There have been many questions that surround the legalization of marijuana in Alaska. It has prompted the Alaska Dispatch News to run a story, urging its readers to be "highly informed" about legalization of marijuana. In Anchorage, police have posted a "Know Your Grow" page on their website. The legalization advocacy group the Marijuana Policy Project will also launch ads on Anchorage buses with messages that include "Consume responsibly" and "With great marijuana laws comes great responsibility."What are your thoughts now that marijuana is legal in Alaska?
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