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Where do we draw the line on marijuana?

Posted: December 28, 2013 - 3:50pm

Where do we, as a society, draw the line?

That’s the question at the heart of an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana use in Alaska.

Supporters of the initiative say they have collected nearly 45,000 signatures, about 15,000 more signatures than needed to put the initiative on the August 2014 ballot.

As proposed, the initiative would legalize the possession of marijuana legal for adults over the age of 21, and establish a regulatory framework to oversee the cultivation and sale of the drug.

The line on marijuana’s legality in Alaska has long been a blurry one. In 1975, the state Supreme Court found that the state’s privacy rights protected possession and private use of small amounts of marijuana. Voters approved medical marijuana use in 1998, but have rejected other ballot initiatives to legalize the drug. Gov. Frank Murkowski pushed a measure to criminalize marijuana through the Legislature in 2006 in what was billed as an effort to overturn the Supreme Court’s 1975 ruling, though the court has yet to weigh in on the measure.

Whether you think the initiative is a good idea depends on your perception of marijuana. Certainly, society’s views on the subject are evolving, as evidenced by recent efforts to legalize marijuana in Washington and Colorado.

Proponents argue that marijuana is no more harmful than other drugs that are regulated, such as alcohol and tobacco. Legalizing it, they say, would save on law enforcement and create a new revenue stream for government.

However, legalizing marijuana won’t alleviate many of social ills associated with drug use. Keep in mind, there are areas of the state in which alcohol is restricted because of the devastating effects it can have on a community. Yes, measures to prohibit the consumption of alcohol or drugs infringe upon personal freedoms. But there comes a point when personal freedoms come into conflict with the needs of a healthy community. It is at that point where society has drawn a line, where individual rights are curbed in the interest of society as whole.

The upcoming ballot initiative will ask us to change where we draw that line. In the interest of healthy, safe communities, Alaskans need to take a hard, critical look at whether that line should be moved.

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leewaytooo
1490
Points
leewaytooo 12/30/13 - 03:19 am
2
0
since you are drawing

since you are drawing lines..................................

Raoulduke
2641
Points
Raoulduke 12/31/13 - 11:28 pm
2
0
Drawing

When answering your question.One must first ask the question.Would you be referring to a straight line? The question of whether marijuana is less harmful than alcohol,and tobacco.This question has been answered with a YES.Alcohol,and tobacco have already been proven to be more harmful.Find out for ones self .Do a little recon on the subject before a vote.

KenaiKardinal88
385
Points
KenaiKardinal88 01/01/14 - 07:25 am
0
3
Criminal Behavior

A new study of how criminals vote found that most convicts register Democratic, a key reason in why liberal lawmakers and governors are eager for them to get back into the voting booth after their release. “Democrats would benefit from additional ex-felon participation,” said the authoritative study in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. The authors, professors from the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University, found that in some states, felons register Democratic by more than six-to-one. In New York, for example, 61.5 percent of convicts are Democrats, just 9 percent Republican

BigRedDog
654
Points
BigRedDog 01/01/14 - 09:53 am
2
0
It just COST to much

Is somebody hiding their heads in the sand to the incredible social economic cost of continuing to enforce prohibition against pot. I'll put it this way, I know there must be at lease 500 prisoners doing serious time for growing, selling, distributing , or otherwise using pot in Alaska! The cost of continued incarceration if spent on teachers for our Village schools would pay for at least 100 positions that really need filled a whole lot more than a prison cell!
Then there is the near permanent cost of casting a fellow citizen into the criminal system almost guaranteeing future career hassles. "A price they should have thought of before You say"! I'm just asking if you have clearly thought the options through about the true cost. The punishment being dealt for these crimes is like a life sentence. The Peninsula isn't having problems with crime centered around pot, it's the meth heads, heroin, and high dollar coke freaks that cost us.
I won't try to change anybody's opinion concerning legalization, but I will say I am tired of seeing this great a cost being paid by taxpayers for something that does not to work. Then there is the unforeseen cost to our National Energy Supply bye outlawing the growth and production of industrial hemp. Our Government should be focused on industries that grow through our leadership in energy production with priority focused on BIO fuels! Are you happy knowing your government is funding the cost of producing ethanol from corn. That huge multinational corps. have a guaranteed check coming to buy all the ethanol they can produce and it's backed with YOUR tax dollar? You see I'm not happy with that, and ask if the folks doing this are aware of the incredible strain this corn economy has put on the nations farming families? It's great if you have the mass tracks of farmland to produce the corn. But if you were a hog farmer, cattle rancher, or a chicken farmer you were screwed by the ever raising cost of feed.
Hemp wouldn't require ANY Government help I do believe has the potential to fully change our agricultural landscape. Wouldn't it be great to see the Delta Barley project really make some COIN! For bio mass fuel, a 20 acre track of hemp producing 12 tons per acre would equal around 480,000 lbs. If chopped and bagged in an insulated pit, how long would this bag power say a 15 kw generator? 1, 2, or 3 years, these are the kind of questions I would like answered. Would it be possible for a big farm to produce enough to power itself and spin that meter backwards a little every day?
Then just think of the spin-off if some native corporation asked "You think we could grow hemp here like our forefathers?" I would like to say to those Corporations, " How do they think they could stop you?" This is truly an opportunity for your people to prosper beyond anything else on this scope! If someone would write up a grant request to one of the Native Corporation to plant say 10,000 acres of hemp how many bags could you fill?

wm97
5
Points
wm97 01/01/14 - 10:34 am
1
0
Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy

The only people who ever ask the question "Where do we draw the line?" are the people who have never read the most basic research on the subject. If anyone really wants an answer to this question, read the following:

The short history of the marijuana laws at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/whiteb1.htm This is funny, fascinating, and not what you expected.

Licit and Illicit Drugs at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/cu/cumenu.htm This is the best overall review of the drug problem ever written. The one book to read if you only read one.

The Drug Hang-Up at http://druglibrary.org/special/king/dhu/dhumenu.htm An excellent history of the subject, which talks a lot about the real reasons for the drug laws.

Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer This is a collection of the full text of every major government commission report on the subject from around the world over the last 100 years. They all reached very similar conclusions. Read Licit and Illicit Drugs, above, for a good summary.

Here is the bottom line. Alcohol causes far more problems in society than all the illegal drugs combined. Always has, always will, and the comparison isn't even close. If you have a workable system for alcohol, then you probably have a workable system for every other intoxicant.

For people who have read the above research, there usually isn't even ten cents difference in their opinions on what to do about drugs. The real drug problem is that most people have never read the most basic research.

beaverlooper
2390
Points
beaverlooper 01/01/14 - 11:32 am
2
0
I agree red dog

I agree with everything you said except 1 thing.
The biggest drug problem we have ,according to a Kenai police officer I talked to, is prescription drugs. Many of which cause true chemical dependance,meaning your body requires them or goes into withdrawal .Marijuana would take many of those drugs (for pain and nausea especially) out of the equation.

Seafarer
1147
Points
Seafarer 01/01/14 - 02:26 pm
1
0
I dig it.

Like, I hear what you're saying, but I just took a couple Toasting Tokes with Colorado and I forgot what you said....

Oh yeah, I remembered. I still don't care about all your tremors and fears. Pot is here to stay, hemp can once more be grown to suck up mass Carbon Dioxide and has myriad uses. Get over it and deal with it. It ain't goin' away.

BigRedDog
654
Points
BigRedDog 01/01/14 - 06:21 pm
0
0
Far bigger Fish to Fry

As far as I can tell the best possible outcome would be to place a flat $25.00 per ounce national sales tax on Pot and dedicate that money to Social Security. Another problem is surfacing within the current controls being used by L/E in Col. It seems someone is letting them write a retirement clause by the incredible layers of enforcement and officers required to meet these standards. It's like half the police force is watching Pot grow for a living, guess it's not a bad job if you can get it!

Raoulduke
2641
Points
Raoulduke 01/02/14 - 01:37 pm
2
0
Felons

KK-88 A convicted FELON has LOST their right to vote,and the right to possess fire arms.So! Knowing they can not vote.Why would a convicted felon even bother with registering to vote? Would you please inform the unenlightened.Just where did you REALLY obtain your information? Oh! Yes! What is a COMMIE FISHER?

Suss
3080
Points
Suss 01/02/14 - 04:14 pm
1
0
Crazy 8's

Nothing about convicts and voting make any sense. KK88 should provide some believable authority to the wild and bizarre claims. This begs to be fact checked or at least a drug test for the person making the claims. FOX news would would even call you out for this story. Most ex-felons are not voters of any considerable measure.

Do Voting Rights Notification Laws Increase Ex-Felon Turnout?
Marc Meredith
Michael Morse
Abstract

Previous research documents widespread confusion about who can and cannot vote among people who have come into contact with the criminal justice system. This research, and considerable activism drawing attention to the issue, has spurred a number of state legislatures to pass laws requiring the states to notify ex-felons about their voting rights. The purpose of this article is to better understand the policy processes that produce these notification laws and to assess whether the laws affect ex-felons’ registration and turnout rates. Data on discharges from the correctional system and voter files are merged from three states that have recently passed notification laws: New Mexico, New York, and North Carolina. Our findings show little evidence of an increase in ex-felon registration or turnout after notification laws are implemented.

RaySouthwell
953
Points
RaySouthwell 01/03/14 - 08:30 am
0
0
Driving under the influence

Years ago, a college instructor told me we would never legalize marijuana until we could determine a legal limit of marijuana in the blood. Are we there now? If we legalize marijuana how will we determine an individual is driving under the influence?

wm97
5
Points
wm97 01/03/14 - 09:51 am
0
0
Driving under the influence

Very simple, RaySouthwell. They can use the standard field sobriety tests - walking a straight line, maintaining focus with the eyes, etc. That works for every form of impairment, even fatigue and over-the-counter medications which can impair.

Ask any DUI lawyer. It is a lot easier to beat a chemical test than it is to beat a video of their client falling down when he tries to walk.

And, just FYI, alcohol is a far greater problem on the road than all the illegal drugs combined. We didn't wait for breathalyzers to repeal alcohol prohibition simply because it was clear that prohibition was a disaster, with or without breathalyzers.

Seafarer
1147
Points
Seafarer 01/03/14 - 01:35 pm
0
0
Felons Voting

After felons finish all that is asked of them, probation rehab, whatever, they get their voting rights back. Stop repeating such a myth.

BigRedDog
654
Points
BigRedDog 01/03/14 - 11:02 pm
0
0
Cops right B/looper

There are a few doctors around here that make those pushers jealous. What a racket, and the clients are from all walks of life making it hard to pick out in a crowd. And boy howdy does that stuff HOOK your ass big-time! And faster than you can say duck butter your toasted and want more! They say pot isn't that much of a pain killer as it is a mood adjuster, helps you deal with the process.
But back to the number of Police it will take to follow the huge array of controls placed on the growers. Is half of the Police force in Ft Collins, CO. really required to monitor all the grows? What a JOB and does that have bennies and a retirement?

joeray
13
Points
joeray 01/08/14 - 09:00 pm
0
0
Alaska Should Legalize Marijuana August 19, 2014

Since our Alaska Supreme Court ruled that Alaskans cannot be prosecuted for consuming small amounts of marijuana in their homes in 1975, there has always been a question of how Alaskans would get that marijuana into their home to consume...
That 40 years question will be answered if Alaskans pass the ballot measure legalizing marijuana in Alaska on August 19, 2014. By legalizing marijuana in Alaska, it will: 1) give localities a source of sales tax revenue that can lower real estate taxes and provide needed benefits to cash strapped localities throughout Alaska, 2) will stop police from citing and/or arresting citizens for possessing small amounts of marijuana of 1 ounce or less anywhere they possess it, 3)will allow marijuana to be regulated and controlled the same way Alaskan micro-brewed beer is regulated throughout Alaska and 4) allow marijuana related businesses to grow and thrive and a safe, non-threatening environment.
Everyday since January 1, 2014 we see how well Coloradans are handling this new law legalizing small amounts of marijuana. Alaskans will have the same chance and opportunities should this ballot measure pass August 19, 2014 during the Alaskan Election. Make sure you vote!!!

Steven Chamberlain
324
Points
Steven Chamberlain 01/09/14 - 01:35 am
0
0
Legalize means control

Hey Stoners! Do you really want the Government hand in your weed jar? The answer is NO!

Raoulduke
2641
Points
Raoulduke 01/09/14 - 03:38 am
0
0
government

Would one prefer the government of our criminal justice system,or the governmental hand of a sales tax?

Suss
3080
Points
Suss 01/09/14 - 07:29 am
0
0
Statewide Sales Tax

First ever State of Alaska sales tax on pot. How long before this tax on pot becomes a State tax on potatoes?

Raoulduke
2641
Points
Raoulduke 01/10/14 - 06:07 am
0
0
tax

Suss-I believe. A tax goes to the state every time a gallon of gas,a pack of cigarettes,or alcohol is purchased.The same form of tax can be applied to the sale of marijuana.The sales tax monies collected in Colorado.All of it goes to the school districts.Not a bad idea.The problem in Alaska would be the way the laws would be written.I am sure there would be many a loop hole.So the monies would find their way into the coffers of the oil corporation.The law should have NO loopholes,or riders.I think.Under these circumstances I see a reduction in real estate property taxes.Wouldn't that be nice?

Suss
3080
Points
Suss 01/10/14 - 11:21 pm
0
0
State sales tax

The way Alaska has given away oil revenues to the oil cartels, I see a state sales tax, state income tax and a state property tax coming down the pipe. This might make the public wake up and question the policies of kissing the hand of big oil while their other hand is on your wallet. This years budget talks in Juneau are nothing but a raid on savings, savings set up for a "rainy day" time of NO OIL revenue. We still have oil and yet we are burning through the savings. Money from pot sales is a silly distraction to the budget problems. If everyone can have and grow pot why would overpriced and taxed pot replace the current Wasilla free market model of marijuana enterprise? The way to create a shortage of pot is to get the government involved in the process of supplying and distribution. Just decriminalize marijuana.

This link applies to national and statewide problems with our elected official tools.

http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/10/news-anchor-completely-loses-it...

Raoulduke
2641
Points
Raoulduke 01/11/14 - 01:49 am
0
0
taxing

Suss- We are heading in the same direction,but on different tracks.I am talking about a legal sale process.Not the METH VALLEY illegal growth,and distribution process. If this state would follow Colorado's lead,and the sticky fingers.Would not be in the cookie jar.Then this state should have no trouble in having new schools,more teachers.Which should lighten the load of property taxes.We already pay a state tax on other items.Just add one more item to the list.I am not pushing for a state sales tax on everything that is purchased.Wouldn't a reduction in property taxes be nice?

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