Legal Recreational Pot Kicks Off In Alaska

By McCarton Ackerman 02/24/15

Three down, 47 more to go.

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And then there were three... Shutterstock

Move over, Colorado and Washington. Alaska has become the latest state to officially legalize recreational marijuana.

The ballot measure to legalize pot that was overwhelmingly approved by Alaskan voters last November goes into effect starting on Tuesday. Under the new law, adults ages 21 and over may now possess up to an ounce of marijuana and six plants for personal use. Private exchanges of the drug are also allowed if money isn’t involved.

Smoking marijuana in public is still strictly forbidden and a $100 fine for lighting up in public will be strictly enforced by law enforcement. The ban on public smoking led marijuana organizers to call off plans for a celebration party in downtown Anchorage.

Marijuana legalization supporters are also calling for quiet celebrations of the new law becoming a reality. Some pro-pot state organizations have also announced plans for advertising campaigns that will recommend safe consumption of the drug.

Despite the sale of marijuana still being banned, rules covering the sale and taxation of it must be adopted by Nov. 24 of this year. State regulators are currently drafting those rules now and will begin accepting business licenses for marijuana-related ventures in February 2016.

Pot shops throughout the state will officially open sometime later that year. Alaskan officials and the state’s alcohol regulatory board are set to hold a meeting this week addressing the sale of pot and other gaps in the legislation.

One of the more high-profile individuals in the state who advocated for legal marijuana was KTVA reporter Charlo Greene, who infamously quit her job on the air so that she could maintain her ownership of the Alaska Cannabis Club. In the segment, Greene declared that she “will be dedicating all of my energy toward fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalizing marijuana here in Alaska…and as for this job…not that I have a choice, but fuck it, I quit.”

The following day, she posted a video on YouTube and doubled down on her decision to exit. She told viewers that "there comes a time in each and every one of our lives when we must choose to continue to spectate, or stand up for what's right."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.