LEGALIZATION ADVOCATES HOPE TO TAX MARIJUANA
Pro-marijuana advocates are united in their effort to pass an
initiative to legalize the drug, but there is uncertainty on how to
regulate it if the initiative succeeds.
"There's a large spectrum of opinion on that," said Mariann Wizard, a
legalization advocate from Texas who traveled to Alaska for the
campaign. "We really don't have as clear a blueprint as I wish we had."
Howard Scaman of Juneau, a former substance abuse counselor who
supports the initiative, said he hopes to persuade the Legislature to
establish a system to issue personal use permits similar to a hunting
or fishing license.
The permit would not allow growers to sell the drug, Scaman
Despite federal laws prohibiting marijuana possession, Scaman said the
Legislature can pass a law creating a system that could generate new
revenue for the state.
It might be a tough sell, though, he said.
"This is a pretty smart Legislature," he said. "They can figure out
how to protect Alaskans' rights over federal law. We disagree with the
feds on a whole lot of things."
If the Legislature fails to establish a regulatory structure for the
substance, legalization advocates could petition the courts to do it,
according to Ken Jacobus, a former lawyer for the Republican Party of
Alaska who is working as legal counsel for the legalization group Yes
on 2. Jacobus, however, acknowledged that there is no solid plan for
Al Anders, an organizer for the legalization effort, questioned
whether marijuana users would sign up for a permit to grow the
substance they are already growing illegally.
"You may not even sell any in Alaska because a person who is growing
marijuana legally ... is not going to go out and buy one of these
certificates," he said. "Nonetheless, it's a way the state could do