On Tuesday, recreational marijuana became legal in Alaska, making it the third state in the US to legalize the plant.
However, until 2016 ,when the official regulations go into place, it will still be illegal to buy, sell or trade marijuana in any way. Then, even after the regulated market is established, anyone who wishes to operate outside of the regulated market will still face steep fines and prison time.
“You can still give people marijuana, but you can’t buy it — or even barter for it,” Alexandra Gutierrez of Alaska Public Media said.
Under the current provisions, Individuals who are 21 years of age or older may possess up to one ounce of marijuana and can grow up to six plants. However, smoking in public is still illegal and could carry a fine of up to $100.
Anticipating the passing of the bill, Alaska Governor Bill Walker proposed legislation on Monday which would establish a “Marijuana Control Board” that would punish people who did not comply with the imposed regulations.
“Importantly, the bill would give the Marijuana Control Board the power to enforce its regulations, including the ability to use peace officer powers to enforce the criminally punishable laws and regulations relating to marijuana,” Walker said.
As many individual states to push to legalize marijuana locally, there are also a number of efforts to end prohibition on a federal level as well. Just recently, 2 different bills were introduced which would federally legalize marijuana.
John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.