Juneau Alaska from Blueberry Hill

It is likely that Alaska will legalize marijuana this summer. According to a new poll from the Alaska House Majority Caucus, a slim majority of voters support the legalization initiative that will be on the August 19th primary ballot.

The poll found that 52 percent of voters support the legalization initiative while 44 percent of voters oppose the legalization ballot measure. Only 4 percent were undecided.

Support is strongest among young voters and Democrats but the initiative is opposed by Republicans and a majority of voters over 45. This could be a problem for the pot initiative because low turnout primaries tend to skew older and the most significant contest will be in the Republican primary.

Fortunately, there is also a minimum wage increase on the primary ballot which is supported by 69 percent of Alaska voters. This should help drive turnout among liberals which should benefit the legalization initiative.

With the polling close and very undecided it all comes down to who actually votes. If young people turn out in significant numbers Alaska should be the third state to legalize marijuana, but if they don’t it could fail. National polling and the 2012 election numbers strongly indicate legalization may motivate young people to vote, but this will be a real test.

Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy

Photo by gillfoto under creative commons license