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Alaska Legalizes Marijuana

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In November 2014 Alaska became the first red state to vote for legalization of pot. The law took effect on February 24, 2015.  The ballot initiative allows adults twenty one and over to possess up to one ounce of weed for personal use and also grow up to six plants for personal use.  According to the Alaska Marijuana Law, a system will be set up to “license, regulate, and tax commercial production, processing, and sales of the drug for personal use.  The authorities believe this enhances individual freedom, a thing sadly lacking lately.   It is a welcome change from the constant encroachment on our constitutional rights engaged in by lawmakers.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Alaska for a long time, and the new law will not change anything in respect to that.  Charlo Green, a news anchor famous for dropping the F-bomb and quitting her job on live TV last September, owns the Alaska Cannabis Club and has been connecting verified medical marijuana patients to legal growers.  When she quit her job she stated that she planned to “devote all her energies to fighting for freedom and fairness”.  In her opinion that process started with legalizing it. 

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Recreational marijuana shops will not be allowed to open until May of 2016.  At this point, recreational users must grow their own or obtain it from someone else for free.  Users may not harvest more than four ounces for themselves, and absolutely may not consume it in public, nor drive under the influence. 

The town of Wasilla, north of Anchorage, known for its free-wheeling ways and frontier spirit, has already banned the making and consumption of pot brownies.  The ban includes making concentrates and extracts.  It also prohibits marijuana clubs and requires that “the use of marijuana cease immediately” if a neighbor is bothered by it.  That will not go over well with the independent Alaskans who live in that town.  An aspiring grower has complained that the city council is displaying amazing ignorance about what is involved with growing and producing pot.  As with the statewide law, allegedly none of these restrictions will interfere with the medical marijuana users. 

Residents, however, are very concerned with the constitutionality of enforcing these city ordinances in private homes.  They have expressed concern about cops simply entering their homes to check on what they are doing.  Such warrantless, unconstitutional searches are rare in Alaska.  Many residents are well armed, and Alaska has castle law, which, in a nutshell,  makes it legal to defend yourself, your property and your possessions with deadly force if needed. 

This is going to be an interesting process; Alaskans tend to be fiercely independent and protective of their privacy.  It would be wise of the Wasilla city counsel to proceed along these lines with caution. 

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