Residents of the State of Alaska will be voting on cannabis legalization this year. This morning, the Alaska Division of Elections announced that more than 31,593 valid signatures have been submitted for the legalization initiative run by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana, confirming it will have a spot on the ballot in the next election.
Campaigners were required to reach a goal of 30,000 valid signatures on the initiative, gathered from at least 30 out of 40 House districts. 46,000 were turned in total, granting enough leeway to compensate for illegible or invalid signatures. State officials are still counting, with roughly 5,000 signatures left to go, after which the initiative will go to the Lieutenant Governor to sign off on, to certify its acceptance.
If voters approve the initiative in the upcoming August election, possession of up to one ounce of cannabis and the cultivation of up to 6 plants will be legalized for those over 21. State-licensed retail outlets will be established, regulated by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
The initiative, written as a constitutional amendment, has been receiving financial support from the national advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project (the organization behind Amendment 64 in Colorado). If passed, Alaska would be the 3rd state in the country to legalize recreational cannabis. The new law would take effect early 2015.