Legislature Urges Respect for Marijuana Legalization in Alaska
April 18, 2018
“The people of Alaska have spoken on this issue time and time again. Alaskans overwhelmingly voted in favor of legalization in 2014, and since then we have seen a thriving new industry that has created thousands of jobs and generated millions in tax revenue. The federal government needs to respect this and not work against it,” said Rep. Guttenberg. “By passing this resolution, the Alaska Legislature listened to and prioritized Alaskans wants. This is not a marijuana issue; it’s a state’s rights and federal overreach issue.”
House Joint Resolution 21 passed the Alaska State Senate today by a vote of 20-0. The resolution passed the Alaska House of Representatives on March 19, 2018 by a unanimous vote of 38-0. After today's concurrence vote, HJR 21 will be sent to Governor Bill Walker for his signature.
The Alaska House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution last month calling on the federal government to respect states’ rights and the will of the Alaskan people regarding marijuana policy. House Joint Resolution 21, sponsored by Guttenberg, also urged the federal government to reconsider its listing of marijuana as a schedule one controlled substance. Other schedule one controlled substances include heroin, LSD, and ecstasy.
“Marijuana has essentially been legal in Alaska for decades, but in 2014 the people of Alaska voted to make it fully legal by allowing it to be grown and sold recreationally. We now have thriving businesses that are contributing to the local and state tax base despite the daily fear that the federal government will overstep their authority by trying to shut them down,” said Rep. Guttenberg. “The U.S. Attorney General, working under the authority of President Trump, seems to think he knows better than the people of Alaska, the Alaska Legislature, and the Alaska Governor about what is best for our state. Passage of this resolution sends a strong statement that we will not tolerate this new form of federal overreach.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. Attorney General rescinded a previous federal policy that respected the will of the voters in states that legalized medical or recreational marijuana use. Under President Obama, a document called the “Cole Memo” advised federal prosecutors not to prosecute marijuana offenses in states where it was legalized by the voters, including Alaska. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and Representative Don Young have all expressed opposition to this shift in federal policy.
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Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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