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September 2004
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Alaskans for Marijuana Regulation and Control

As reported here before, Alaskan courts are doing their part, ruling that possession of up to 4 ounces in the home is legal.
Now the voters will have the chance to take it a step further.
Initiative (pdf) summary:

This bill would do away with civil and criminal penalties for people 21 years or older who grow, use, sell, or give away marijuana or other hemp products. These products include hemp used for paper, fiber, food, fuel, medicine, or personal use in private. Marijuana could be regulated like alcohol or tobacco. State law could not stop doctors from prescribing marijuana. The bill allows for laws limiting marijuana use in some cases to protect public safety, and it allows laws to limit marijuana use in public. The bill would not nullify laws regulating marijuana use by minors.

The group proposing the change has learned some tough lessons from a past loss, and really has worked on framing the issue in a way that will attract voters. The group is called Alaskans for Marijuana Regulation and Control, also known as “Yes on 2”. Check out their TV ad. It’s not your hippie-pot-smoker-legalization-style-TV ad. And it looks like it just may work.
In today’s Anchorage Daily News: Marijuana legalization group tries a new strategy.
Pro-pot side offers ‘professional’ ads, well-chosen speakers

A group calling itself Yes on 2 has begun campaigning in earnest for a November ballot measure to legalize and regulate marijuana in Alaska and has a strategy different from what voters saw for a similar, unsuccessful initiative in 2000.

This time around, organizers are asking less of voters in an attempt to make the measure more appealing in the Nov. 2 election. They also have enlisted a more carefully selected group of spokespeople to help make their pitch, including a biomedical professor, a former high-ranking state corrections officer and a prominent Republican Party official.

The statewide campaign, which includes television and radio spots and a push to get supporters registered to vote by the Oct. 3 deadline, has some opponents worried.

“The legalizers have done a good job this time,” said former U.S. Attorney Wev Shea, who backed a 1990 initiative to criminalize pot in Alaska and was also a key spokesman against legalization in 2000. “Have you seen the commercials? … They’re really professional.”

Lots of professionals are involved in the initiative.

Dr. Tim Hinterberger, an assistant professor for the biomedical program at the University of Alaska Anchorage and a sponsor of Ballot Measure 2, said marijuana is widely recognized as being far less toxic than substances such as cocaine or alcohol. He said he has never heard of a case where someone died from a pot overdose. In terms of addictiveness, pot is more on par with caffeine, he said.

Of course, good old Alaskan Attorney General Greg Renkes said that laws forbid him from using his position to tell people how to vote, and then proceeded to do so.

Renkes challenged [Hinterberger’s] assertion too, saying pot is addictive and mind-altering and can lead to worse drugs. He called substance abuse “the most serious social issue facing the state,” noting that many crimes, injuries, deaths, as well as about 87 percent of incarcerations in Alaska are related to alcohol and drug abuse.

Alaska spends more money per capita on drug prevention and treatment than any other state in country, Renkes said. “This is a problem that we all share,” he said. “I’m offended by Outside money and Outside groups coming here and thinking that they can easily impact our laws.” [notice the capital Outside]

Stupid Drug Czar tricks
This leads to an amazingly absurd moment in the article. Naturally, a representive of the Drug Czar’s office stuck their nose in. This time, it was spokeswoman Jennifer de Vallance. She parroted the usual propaganda about “sending the wrong message.” And then the talk of funding came up.

David Finkelstein, treasurer of Alaskans for Marijuana Regulation and Control, said he expected Yes on 2 to spend “hundreds of thousands” of dollars on its campaign.

Well, this naturally outraged poor Jennifer. So she stepped up to her taxpayer funded propaganda job, wielded the ONDCP’s $11,000,000,000 propaganda budget completely funded by our taxes, and spewed:

“That’s a frustrating part of the drug legalization movement,” de Vallance said. “There is no well-funded political movement to keep our society safe.”
[Thanks again, Scott!]

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