Alaska is the latest state to legalize marijuana use and, as of Feb. 24, is now the third state in the nation to allow recreational use of the drug. While editorial rules have been implemented, such as being 21 years of age and only possessing up to one ounce of marijuana with a limit of six plants (three flowering) in a secure location, details such as the lingering federal law placing the plant as a schedule one narcotic still need to be straightened out.
Legalizing marijuana is not an instantaneous change and the transition takes time. The law is not yet fully implemented as the Alaska Alcohol Beverage Control Board is allowed nine months to enact regulations for the production, processing and sale of marijuana. The board will begin accepting applications from those interested in growing, processing or selling marijuana one year after the effective date of the law.
As of now, public use of the drug and driving while under its influence are restricted. Selling marijuana remains illegal. Alaska enforces a $50 excise tax on every ounce of marijuana sold or transferred from a cultivation or production facility. There is now a focus toward decriminalizing the use of marijuana as a federal offense.
“I think that Alaska’s decision to legalize marijuana is great and a lot of people are going to benefit from it, not just from its properties but also from the economic stimulation it provides,”, second-year political science and international studies AOC Lena Nowak-Laird said.