Alaska has become the third state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana thanks to a voter initiative on Tuesday.
Smoking, growing and possessing marijuana is now legal in the state. With legalization now official, marijuana use is legal for individuals aged 21 and older. The law does have limits, however, similar to other states.
Alaska residents cannot have more than one ounce of marijuana on them, nor are they allowed to harvest more than 4 ounces in their house. Using marijuana in public and driving while high are also illegal, CNN reported.
The law has not yet been fully implemented, as the regulatory structure allowing shops like those in Colorado are still being finalized. As it stands, no one can legally make a living selling marijuana in Alaska.
Alaska is now the first predominantly Republican state to approve recreational use of marijuana, Bloomberg reported. The GOP holds the majority in the Alaska Senate and House. Governor Bill Walker, who previously ran as a Republican, is now an Independent.
The initiative was a collaboration of individualists, libertarians, and small-government Republicans who value the state’s privacy rights.
Alaska Native leaders have already expressed concern that the legislation will bring new temptations to communities already struggling with high rates of domestic violence, suicide, and drug and alcohol abuse.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Edward Nick” author_title=”Council member in Manokotak, a remote village of Yup’ik Eskimo”]
When they start depending on smoking marijuana, I don’t know how far they’d go to get the funds they need to support it, to support themselves.
Backers of the initiative promised Native leaders that communities will retain local control under some conditions. In Alaska, every community has the right to regulate local alcohol use and sales. 108 communities in the state have local alcohol limits, and 33 ban it completely, according to ABC News.