| Posted on Fri, December, 26th 2014 by THCFinder
This past November, Alaska passed a bill legalizing marijuana in the state. But two members of the Assembly decided to try to roadblock the implementation of legal cannabis in Anchorage. After a four hour debate and public testimony on Tuesday night, the measure was killed with a 9-2 vote, with only two people supporting the measure.
Several of the Assembly members expressed their concern that banning the legal marijuana market would disconnect them from the conversations regarding the plant at a state level. “I’m fearful the message on ‘opt out’ will send key legislators in Anchorage to the sidelines,” said Assemblyman Bill Starr. “That will make my work harder.”
Most people who attended the public hearing were opposed to the ordinance. Those who held medical marijuana cards lamented the idea of struggling to get their medicine illegally. Others were concerned with the city finances and that the Assembly shouldn’t avoid new ways of getting revenue in the form of marijuana tax sales. Additionally, some mentioned that they would distrust officials for even considering to circumvent the Alaskan voters’ wishes, a good point as this was what the people wanted to see happen.
Jeff Jessee, someone who worked on the campaign opposing Ballot Measure 2, is worried that there’s too much unknown with the regulations of marijuana that it would make sense to stop it before it gets going. “We need to temper the expectations that it will be open season for this industry in Anchorage.” But clearly, Jessee and the other oppressors don’t see what’s happening in Colorado and Washington. Things aren’t falling apart and the states are raking in money for legal cannabis sales. Washington recently hit the $1 million mark, making them extremely successful with their cannabis model, just like Colorado.
One of the medical marijuana patients who ended up crying at the meeting, June Pittman-Unsworth, said she has no legal options to grow the plant herself… Or even obtain it for that matter, without the help of the shops. “The state failed me… Don’t let the city fail me,” she said. “This ordinance is premature and open-ended. There’s no date on when to comply. I want you to think about that.” Rev. Michael Burke of Common Sense on Marijuana in Alaska, a group of business and faith leaders that want to have a voice in the marijuana regulatory process, also asked the city to hold of on banning the shops. He claimed that the ordinance didn’t pass the “red face” rest and that his worries are that the voters will be extremely cynical of their leaders for pushing this ordinance so soon after the initiative was passed.
As with Washington and Colorado, the newly legal states have a lot of work laid out for them before these legal marijuana markets can be implemented. At least a year will go by before the citizens of these states see any changes. Business models, laws, and regulations must be put in to place responsibly, in order to prevent any further speed bumps. While there have been many victories for cannabis in 2014, there is a long road ahead of us if we want to see full on marijuana legalization.