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article imageCharlo Greene: The time is now for Alaska to legalize cannabis Special

By Ben Morris     Oct 13, 2014 in Politics
Anchorage - In the upcoming mid term elections, Alaska is one of two states, along with Oregon to have marijuana legalization on the ballot. Pro pot activists in Alaska are working hard in the hopes of becoming another state that has legal marijuana.
In 1975, decades before legalizing marijuana was on the conscience of Americans, Alaska effectively legalized cannabis thanks to an Alaska Supreme Court ruling that deemed marijuana possession as a privacy right. Ravin v. State, although historic, did not sweep marijuana prosecutions outside of Alaskan court rooms.
University of Alaska law professor Jason Brandeis told the Washington Post,"Alaskans can currently lawfully possess up to four ounces of marijuana in their homes for personal use [and cultivate up to 25 plants], but still risk prosecution under existing state and federal statutes." Alaskans are legally protected from marijuana possession, but they aren't. The Supreme Court ruling allowed for consumption in the home, but criminal statues still allow for the state to prosecute marijuana offenses. It is that confusion that many Alaskans want to eradicate through the ballot box.
One of those people is Charlo Greene, the now infamous former journalist who quit her job on air to devote her time to getting cannabis legalized. She knows how the government has circumvented the Supreme Court ruling to arrest and prosecute marijuana cases.
"The constitution protects your right to privacy and to consume marijuana in your own home- but once you leave your house-you're liable to prosecution," said Greene in a phone interview from Alaska. Greene related a story about a young woman she knows who was stopped at a checkpoint and was told by police there was a scent of marijuana in her car. After the officer pulled out the woman's floor mats the officer was able to collect a gram of cannabis amongst the dirt.
It is those cases that have angered and motivated Greene to take a stand against the criminality of cannabis. While talking to her fellow Alaskans about the ballot measure, Greene argues the people of the state believe it is time to legalize the plant thanks to the people of Colorado and Washington.
Greene was "upset" when Alaska did not become the first state to legalize. According to the owner of Alaska Cannabis Club, Alaska has, "always been about moving forward and protecting liberties," and the fact that Colorado and Washington beat Alaska to the punch is motivation to give Alaska a seat on the bus.
The ballot measure would make it legal for people over 21 to cultivate, possess and consume cannabis, and for the plant to be taxed. Greene noted crime and financial statistics in Colorado that makes her believe Alaska will act as another fallen domino.
In Colorado violent crime has dropped since they legalized cannabis, same with teen marijuana usage, and traffic fatalities. Revenue for the state has been estimated at $100 million. For pro pot activists, Colorado is exhibit A in the benefits of legalizing cannabis, and if campaign spending is any indication, Alaska will vote for legalization. According to campaign records,the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has so far outspent opponents 12 to 1
However; polls have indicated Alaskans have mixed views on legalization. A poll paid for by “Big Marijuana. Big Mistake. Vote No on 2,” found a majority who says they will vote no on the ballot measure, but another pollster showed support for the law at 57%.
The United States will find out if they have another legal marijuana state on November 4th.
More about marijuana legalization, marijuana laws, Charlo Greene, Alaska
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