Category Archives: News Article

New Report: Regulating Marijuana in Alaska Could Generate Over $72.5 Million in Tax Revenue in First Five Years of Legal Sales

According to independent research organization, passage of Ballot Measure 2 could bring in more than $8.5 million in the first year of sales and nearly $24 million per year by 2020

ANCHORAGE — Passage of Ballot Measure 2 could generate more than $72.5 million in tax revenue in the first five years of legal marijuana sales, according to a new report from an independent research organization. It could bring in more than $8.5 million in the first year and nearly $24 million per year by 2020. The full report is available here.

The study was conducted by the Marijuana Policy Group, a collaborative effort between university researchers and economic research consultants, which does not take a stance on whether marijuana should be legal. According to a report by the Washington Post, the organization received no payment for the study and chose to undertake it because the State of Alaska did not perform the research on its own.

Statement from Chris Rempert of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is supporting Ballot Measure 2:

“The report confirms that regulating marijuana like alcohol would produce significant new revenue for our state. Generating new revenue is not the only reason to support ending marijuana prohibition, but it is a good reason.

“Passage of Ballot Measure 2 will not only bolster Alaska’s economy, but also enhance public safety. Regulating marijuana would take tens of millions of dollars in marijuana sales out of the underground market where profits benefit criminals who aren’t paying taxes. It would also ensure marijuana is properly tested, packaged, and labeled, and that cultivation and sales are tightly controlled.

“Marijuana sales are going to take place in Alaska regardless of whether Ballot Measure 2 passes. Voters need to decide whether we should continue forcing those sales into the underground market or allow them to be conducted by legitimate, taxpaying businesses.”

My Turn: Ballot Measure 2 strikes the right balance for rural Alaska

By FORREST DUNBAR
FOR THE JUNEAU EMPIRE

I grew up in rural Alaska, surrounded by drugs and alcohol. I didn’t come from a troubled home or a broken community. Still, growing up in Eagle and Cordova, I encountered drugs and alcohol like many Alaskans do — frequently.

In high school, I began to see more “hard” drugs, and began drinking socially. Cordova’s fishing fleet, like many groups of hard-working and independent Alaskans, struggles with drug and alcohol use.

It was also in high school that I was first offered marijuana. I chose not to smoke marijuana mostly because it didn’t appeal to me. I never smoked cigarettes either, despite their legality.

Continue reading My Turn: Ballot Measure 2 strikes the right balance for rural Alaska

Campaign finance complaint filed in Alaska marijuana ballot measure

Fairbanks News-Miner
By Casey Grove

ANCHORAGE — Backers of a ballot measure to legalize marijuana in Alaska filed a complaint Thursday with the state Public Offices Commission alleging their opponents either violated disclosure laws or lied to the public about an advertising firm’s role in the anti-legalization campaign.

To help argue against Ballot Measure 2 — which would legalize possession of marijuana and regulate its cultivation, sale and taxation — the Big Marijuana Big Mistake campaign used the services of advertising company Northwest Strategies. Kristina Woolston, the company’s majority owner and the anti-legalization campaign’s spokeswoman, said Monday that Northwest Strategies was donating its time and services to the campaign.

At a debate Monday, Woolston also referred to her opponent as a paid spokesperson and to herself as a volunteer.

But legalization supporters Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said in the complaint to APOC that reports to the regulatory agency did not include details of donated work and instead showed instances in which Northwest Strategies was paid for its services.

Continue reading Campaign finance complaint filed in Alaska marijuana ballot measure

Elise Patkotak: Keeping pot illegal has only made substance abuse, illicit trade harder to address

Alaska Dispatch News
By Elise Patkotak

Even a cursory review of history reveals that prohibition is a failed policy. Whether it’s forbidding your teen from seeing the boy of her dreams or forbidding a nation to have a beer after work, the result is the same. The forbidden will somehow be accessed. All prohibition does is drive the behavior underground, thus making it that much harder to deal with the consequences.

America’s War on Drugs has been a colossal failure. Not only has it not even come close to achieving its stated goal, it has driven the issue so far underground that the only people who truly benefit from it at this point are the drug lords who live high off the tastes of America’s citizens.

While I can understand concerns people have over the potential for abuse if pot is legalized, keeping it illegal has not made much of a difference in its availability or people’s use of it. For village leaders concerned that if pot is legalized it will make its way into their villages, trust me that it’s already there in abundance. Keeping pot a prohibited substance does not diminish its availability.

Continue reading Elise Patkotak: Keeping pot illegal has only made substance abuse, illicit trade harder to address

Marijuana initiative topic of debate in Alaska

Fairbanks News-Miner
By Casey Grove

ANCHORAGE — The fight over a ballot measure to legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana in Alaska pitted representatives from both sides of the battle against each other in a debate put on Monday by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce.

It was the first clash in a public forum between the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol campaign, managed by communications firm Strategies 360, and Big Marijuana Big Mistake, a group with some big-name backers, including former Gov. Frank Murkowski and Chenega Corp.

Legalization supporters turned in more than 45,000 verified signatures in February to get the initiative on the ballot, and the effort since then has turned toward convincing the rest of Alaska voters that regulating and taxing marijuana is a good thing for the state. Whether Alaskans should take an underground pot industry away from the black market or reject the drug’s commercialization is yet another hot-button issue voters must decide on an already crowded November ballot.

Continue reading Marijuana initiative topic of debate in Alaska