Legality of Cannabis by U.S. Jurisdiction

Alaska Measure 2 was a successful 2014 ballot measure in the U.S. state of Alaska, described as "An Act to tax and regulate the production, sale, and use of marijuana".[1] The measure went into effect on 24 February 2015, allowing Alaskans age 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis and six plants, making Alaska the third state to legalize recreational marijuana, following Colorado and Washington.[2] Oregon and Alaska both voted in legalization on Election Day 2014, but Alaska preceded Oregon in enacting their legislation.

The legal status of cannabis in Alaska had varied greatly over the preceding 40 years. Alaska had previously recognized a right to cannabis with the 1975 Ravin v. State case in the Alaska Supreme Court. The state Legislature then decriminalized marijuana in 1982, but a 1990 ballot initiative also entitled Measure 2 recriminalized cannabis until its provisions were struck down in a 2003 Alaska Appeals court case, Noy v. State.[3]


Local KTVA-TV newscaster Charlo Greene garnered national coverage, when on 21 September she publicly quit her job on air, and announced her support for legalization. Greene had been reporting on the Alaska Cannabis Club during the evening's newscast, before abruptly revealing that she was the club's owner:[4]

Now everything you've heard is why I, the actual owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, will be dedicating all of my energy toward fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalizing marijuana here in Alaska. And as for this job, well, not that I have a choice but, fuck it, I quit.

Opponents and proponents[edit]

The passage of Measure 2 and subsequent legislation provided municipalities with significant leeway to enact local ordinances pertaining to commercial cannabis production and sales. Lance Roberts, a member of the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly, campaigns in downtown Fairbanks in June 2016 for an initiative to prohibit cannabis sales outside of the borough's two incorporated cities, using the slogan "Stop Pot Shops (Stores) Next Door".

The Alaska campaign was dominated by one large state group per side: the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska backing the initiative, and Big Marijuana. Big Mistake. Vote No on 2 comprising the main opposition. As of end-August 2014, the Campaign to Regulate had filed $700,000 in contributions with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, while No on 2 had filed $40,487. The Vote No on 2 group criticized the Campaign to Regulate for receiving the majority of its funds through the national Marijuana Policy Project; more than half of Vote No on 2's funding came from the Alaska Native village corporation Chenega Corp.[5] By mid-October, the Campaign to Regulate had spent $827,000, against the Vote No's $69,000.[6]


Measure 2
Choice Votes %
Referendum passed Yes 149,021 53.23
No 130,924 46.77
Total votes 279,945 100.00

Source: Alaska Division of Elections[7]


Possession and usage by adults was legalized on 24 February 2015. Alaska House Bill 123, the Marijuana Control Board bill which established a five-member Marijuana Control Board that shares staff with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, passed the House on 19 April by a vote of 37-1.[8] The first legal marijuana store opened in Valdez in October 2016.[9] Other retail outlets have since opened in most of Alaska's larger cities.


  1. ^ "Full Initiative Text | Campaign to Regulate Marijuana in Alaska". Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  2. ^ "Alaska becomes 3rd state with legal marijuana". USA Today. Associated Press. February 24, 2015. Archived from the original on March 10, 2015. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  3. ^ John Scheb; John Scheb, II (February 19, 2013). Criminal Law and Procedure. Cengage Learning. pp. 300–. ISBN 978-1-285-54613-1.
  4. ^ "KTVA reporter quits on-air, reveals herself as owner of Alaska Cannabis Club | Alaska Dispatch News". September 21, 2014. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  5. ^ "Alaska marijuana legalization initiative: Supporters, opponents rally | Alaska Dispatch News". August 31, 2014. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  6. ^ Chokshi, Niraj (October 10, 2014). "Alaska's marijuana legalization advocates are outspending their foes 12 to 1". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  7. ^ "Gems Election Results".
  8. ^ Andrews, Laurel (April 19, 2015). "Mixed results for Alaska marijuana legislation as lawmakers wind down |". Alaska Dispatch News. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  9. ^ Andrews, Laurel (October 29, 2016). "Marijuana milestone: Alaska's first pot shop opens to the public in Valdez". Anchorage Daily News. Alaska Dispatch News.

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