As of Tuesday Feb. 24, marijuana use and possession are now legal in Alaska. After voters decided in November for the legalization of marijuana with a 53-47 vote and lawmakers created a few necessary regulations, the use of pot within non-public places has now been approved.
- So what is actually legal when it comes to pot in Alaska?
As of today, possessing and carrying a maximum of one ounce of marijuana is allowed. One also has the right to grow up to six plants, three of which can be mature. When it comes to commercializing this plant, there are no official regulations but officials say that in nine months there will be a set of rules regarding this matter, together with price and taxes.
- Where can one get it from?
Whoever grows it or has it. According to the new law, all the marijuana obtained from growing a maximum of six plants can be kept or given away without state penalty.
- Where exactly can marijuana be consumed?
Not in public, although the term is a bit vague. It can be defined as any location that is “accessible to the public or a substantial group of persons”. So avoid schools, parks, prisons, business etc. But what about one’s own porch?
This is a matter incompletely discussed. It seems do depend on the town. In Anchorage, the most populated town in Alaska (with more than 40% of the state’s population living in this area), Mark Mew, the town’s Police Chief announced that anyone who will be found smoking marijuana on their porches will be fined. This, however, applies only to those whose porch is situated next to a public park.
Although many are happy about the acceptance of marijuana, some native Alaskan leader are worried that this change might bring a rise in criminality. Another concern is that some people will use this legalization as a motive to abuse other substances. This is a very delicate situation as Alaska is known for its high rates of alcohol abuse, suicide and domestic violence.
Supporters of the legalization assured concerned leaders that they will have a limited local control over drug use in their community, just like they do with alcohol.
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