Alaska Governor Mead Treadwell

This year on August 17 19 the people of Alaska will be voting on whether or not to legalize marijuana. On Wednesday, Alaska Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell officially signed off on the ballot initiative after meeting with the Division of Elections. Earlier this month the Division of Elections found the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska had turned in enough valid signatures to qualify.

The initiative is closely mirrored off the new law in Colorado. It would legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and older. It would also create a system for the regulated sale and taxation of recreational pot. Localities would have the right to ban marijuana businesses but not personal use on private propriety.

Polling indicates the initiative is likely to succeed. A PPP survey from this month put support at 55 percent in favor to 39 percent against.

In addition, the Lt. Gov. also certified a ballot measure to raise the minimum wage in the state. Theoretically, this should be good news for the legalization initiative. Liberals tend to be some of the strongest supporters for minimum wage increases and marijuana reform, so having both issues on the ballot should encourage more liberals to vote this August. Turnout in primary elections tend to be much lower than general election.

Photo courtesy US Army Alaska under Creative Commons license