Below is the Vote Yes on 2 language that was featured in the official election guide that was sent to every registered voter.
Marijuana prohibition has been just as ineffective, inefficient, and counterproductive as alcohol prohibition. It’s time for a more sensible approach.
Ballot Measure 2 will end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition in Alaska and replace it with a system in which:
- personal use, possession, and limited home-growing of marijuana is legal for adults 21 and older; and
- marijuana is regulated and taxed like alcohol.
Government studies and scientific research have consistently concluded that even the most potent marijuana, in concentrate or any other form, is far less harmful than alcohol to the consumer and to society. It’s less addictive, less damaging to the body, and far less likely to trigger violent and reckless behavior.1,2 Adults who prefer to use marijuana instead of alcohol shouldn’t be punished for making the safer choice.
There were 2,219 arrests for marijuana offenses in Alaska in 2010, of which 91% were for possession alone.3 Measure 2 would allow law enforcement to spend their time and limited resources addressing serious crimes instead of arresting and prosecuting adults for using a less harmful substance than alcohol.
Current marijuana prohibition laws force marijuana sales into the underground market where they’re controlled by criminal enterprises. Measure 2 will replace the underground market with a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana businesses that will create good jobs for Alaskans and generate tax revenue for the state and localities. It will also create business for ancillary industries, such as construction, real estate, and accounting. Localities will have the right to ban marijuana establishments.
State officials will create and enforce rules governing the production and sale of marijuana, such as testing, packaging, labeling requirements, and restrictions on advertising.
A regulated market will provide a safer environment for adults to purchase marijuana, and it will reduce their exposure to other illegal substances. It will also more effectively prevent teens from purchasing marijuana. It will remain illegal to sell or provide marijuana to minors, and proof of age will be required to purchase marijuana. Those selling marijuana in the underground market do not ask for ID.
In Colorado, where voters approved a similar measure in 2012, officials have reported no instances of businesses illegally selling marijuana to minors.4 Since the state began regulating hundreds of marijuana-related businesses in 2010, teen marijuana use hasn’t increased, high school graduation rates have increased, and drop-out rates have decreased.5,6
Implementation of the Colorado law hasn’t contributed to an increase in crime, and violent crime decreased statewide in the first year in which marijuana was legal for adults.7 The number of fatal vehicle crashes dropped more than 25% during the first four months of legal marijuana sales compared to the same period the previous year.8
Statewide support for ending marijuana prohibition has increased in Colorado since legal adult marijuana sales began.9
Regulating marijuana works.
1 U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base,” (Washington, D.C: National Academy Press, 1999). http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6376
2 Hall, Wayne, “A Comparative Appraisal of the Health and Psychological Consequences of Alcohol, Cannabis, Nicotine, and Opiate Use,” Prepared for the World Health Organization (University of New South Wales: National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, 1995). http://www.academia.edu/2868073/A_comparative_appraisal_of_the_health_and_psychological_consequences_of_alcohol_cannabis_nicotine_and_opiate_use
3 American Civil Liberties Union, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White,” June 2013. https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/aclu-thewaronmarijuana-rel2.pdf
4 The Denver Post, “No Colorado marijuana stores found selling to minors in police checks,” June 26, 2014. http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_26038300/no-colorado-marijuana-stores-found-selling-minors-police
5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1991–2011 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline
6 The Denver Post, “Graduation rates up in Colorado; South High leads Denver school gains,” January 23, 2014. http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_24977114/graduation-rates-colorado-up-by-1-5-percent
7 Colorado Bureau of Investigation, “Colorado Crime Rates 1960-2012.” http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/cocrime.htm
8 Colorado State Patrol press release, April 23, 2014. http://cdps-l.state.co.us/pipermail/press.release/2014-April/000800.html
9 Public Policy Polling, “Colorado happy with legalizing marijuana, supports gay marriage,” March 19, 2014. http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2014/03/colorado-happy-with-marijuana-legalization-supports-gay-marriage.html