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Marijuana Legalization: Marijuana Goes Legal in Alaska

Marijuana Goes Legal in Alaska

Will Michigan be next?

Marijuana is now officially legal in Alaska for those adults 21 years and older on private property and in small amounts. February 24th, 2015 was the day the legalization took effect. The state of Oregon is also set to legalize marijuana in July.

How will the Federal Government react, and will Michigan be next?

Marijuana Legalization in Alaska

Fifty-three percent of voters affirmed that they want marijuana to be legal in their state and now it is. However, according to Time.com, consuming marijuana in public remains illegal. In fact, if you are caught smoking or consuming marijuana in public, you will receive a $100 fine from police.

This has lead to a series of ads that say things like:

“Consume Responsibility”

“With great marijuana laws comes great responsibility”

This may not be new news in Alaska for marijuana users because in 1975, the state supreme court ruled that in Alaska there is a constitutional right to privacy. That constitutional right to privacy extended into possessing small amounts of marijuana at home.

However, in 2006, law makers criminalized the possession of marijuana even at home.

Now, the law is clear. Marijuana is legal to possess for adults over the age of 21 on private property.

Marijuana Remains Illegal Under Federal Law

According to an article by the Huffington Post, back in August of 2013, the

“Department of Justice would allow the states to create a regime that would regulate and implement the ballots initiatives that legalized the use of marijuana for adults.”

With that approval, though the DOJ has the right to file a preemptive lawsuit at any time. Laster, a Deputy Attorney General, sent out a memo to all the U.S. attorneys across the United States. The deputy attorney’s memo was three and a half pages in length.

In that memo, 8 priorities were outlined for federal prosecutors enforcing marijuana laws. In that same article by the Huffington Post, it was reported that the “DOJ will prosecute individuals or entities to prevent” these 8 priorities.

The 8 Priorities That the DOJ Will Prosecute Individuals or Entities to Prevent include:

  1. The distribution of marijuana to minors.
  2. Revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, ganges and cartels.
  3. The diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states.
  4. State-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity.
  5. Violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana.
  6. Drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use.
  7. Growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers pose by marijuana production on public lands.
  8. Preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.

Tax Revenue

In an another article by the Huffington Post, it is pointed out that marijuana sales that are projected will bring in millions in taxes. The Huffington Post reports that sales could be upwards to $8 million in the first year and $20 million in 2020.

Will Michigan Legalize Marijuana?

It’s hard to say for sure whether or not Michigan will be next to legalize marijuana. However, back in January, I published an article that reported Michigan being one of eight states picked as most likely to legalize recreational use of marijuana.

Michigan had been picked for that use due to all the cities that have voted and passed marijuana decriminalization measures. To find out which cities, please see, Michigan Picked: Most Likely to Legalize Recreational Marijuana.

While cities and states have voted to decriminalize and legalize recreational marijuana, while it remains illegal under federal law, anyone or entity could still be prosecuted.

Marijuana Illegal Under Federal Law

For example, the Justice Department officials have said that if a marijuana distributor used a cartoon character in their marketing, that could be grounds to prosecute them. This is because it could be interpreted that the distributor was attempting to distribute to minors.

The Feds have given themselves plenty of leeway.

Summary

For now, many cities and states are following President Obama’s “bigger fish to fry” philosophy, meaning marijuana users are not a priority. The fact remains that one could still be prosecuted under Federal Law and currently in Michigan under state law.

Do you think Michigan will vote to legalized recreation marijuana?

This article was published on: February 25, 2015 and was last modified February 26, 2015