Voters approve ballot initiatives on marijuana, minimum wage, Bristol Bay mining

  • By Dan Joling
  • Wednesday, November 5, 2014 1:22am
  • News

ANCHORAGE — A measure to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Alaska was maintaining a steady lead in early returns Tuesday night.

With nearly two-thirds of the state’s precincts reporting, Alaskans were narrowly approving Ballot Measure 2, which would legalize recreational pot for Alaskans 21 and older.

The language to create a system of taxation and regulation is similar to a measure approved in Colorado and comes a decade after Alaska voters rejected legalizing pot in 2004.

Oregon voters also approved a recreational pot measure Tuesday. Washington state joined Colorado in legalizing recreational marijuana in 2012.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the group behind the Alaska initiative, said marijuana prohibition has been “as ineffective, wasteful, and problematic as alcohol prohibition.”

Pro-pot forces outspent the opposition by a huge margin, funded largely by a national group that backs legalization, the Marijuana Policy Project. Supporters said legalization would free up law enforcement to focus on more serious drug crimes and bring in additional revenue for the state.

Opponents included local governments, law enforcement agencies and Alaska Native and health care groups. The Vote No on 2 group said approval of the measure would harm villages that have no authority over marijuana, hurt children susceptible to mass marketing and run up social costs for damage done to families.

Alaska Native leaders, municipalities and law enforcement officials opposed the measure.

Pot is already legal in small quantities in users’ homes under a 1975 Alaska Supreme Court ruling on privacy rights. An overriding theme among voters in midtown Anchorage was the amount of money spent to enforce marijuana laws on the books.

“If there’s an opportunity for fewer people to end up in jail, for marijuana, I see that as good,” said Ron Rozak after voting at Central Lutheran Church.

He acknowledged that marijuana interferes with young people’s development and thinking but is not sure it’s a gateway to cocaine or other drugs. He would rather see enforcement money spent on preschools or job training.

Willow Tebo and Scott Jenks voted yes.

“There are too many people that take up law enforcement’s valuable time. I’d rather they be chasing after violent criminals than bustin’ a grown man who’s smoking a doobie,” Tebo said.

“It’s pretty much legal here anyway,” Jenks said. “It’s just a waste of cop time and court time and it’s pretty much harmless, as far as I’m concerned.”

ANCHORAGE — Alaskans have voted to raise the minimum wage.

Ballot Measure Three sought to raise the minimum wage by $2 an hour.

The wage is currently set at $7.75. With the measure’s passage Tuesday, it will go up $2 over the next two years.

After that, the measure calls for it to be adjusted for inflation.

ANCHORAGE — Alaska voters have decided to restrict mining operations in the Bristol Bay region.

Ballot Measure Four sought to require legislative approval for a large-scale metallic sulfide mining operation in the Bristol Bay region.

The initiative states that, in addition to permits and other authorizations required by law, a final authorization would be needed from the Legislature for any large-scale mining operation within the watershed of the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve.

That authorization would come in the form of a law finding the operation would not constitute a danger to the region’s world-class salmon fishery.

The measure has implications for the massive proposed gold-and-copper project known as the Pebble Mine.

More in News

Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion 
The Kenai River can be seen from the Funny River Campground on Sunday, June 23, 2019, in Funny River, Alaska.
State seeks funding for Funny River boat launch

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources is working to secure funding for… Continue reading

COVID-19 cases remain high in area

Every region of Alaska was considered to be at “intermediate” or “high”… Continue reading

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion 
The entrance to Soldotna Public Library is seen on Thursday, March 25, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska.
Soldotna library seeks to beef up reading programs

The Soldotna Public Library will use a $2,200 donation from the Soldotna… Continue reading

Characters from the "Little Mermaid" wave to the crowd from the Triumvirate Theatre float during the Soldotna Progress Days parade on Saturday, July 24, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
Progress on parade

The Progress Days Parade was held Saturday in Soldotna.… Continue reading

Scaffolding is erected around the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, July 20, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Parishioners largely welcomed back to in-person church services

One serious point of contention during the coronavirus pandemic, amid many, has… Continue reading

Kenai Courthouse is photographed on February 26, 2019 in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)
Court reports, July 25

The following dismissals were recently handed down in Kenai District Court: Dalton… Continue reading

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Police Reports, July 25, 2021

Information for this report was taken from publicly available law enforcement records… Continue reading

Clayton Holland stands in his office at the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
New superintendent discusses upcoming school year

Clayton Holland is ready to get to work. That’s what the new… Continue reading

South Peninsula Hospital registered nurse Anne Garay gives Jessica Entsminger her second COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, May 7, 2021, at a pop-up vaccination clinic at the Boathouse Pavillion on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. About 25 people received vaccines in the first 3.5 hours of the 4-hour clinic. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
As COVID cases increase, officials think we’re not yet at the fourth peak

Department of Health and Social Services officials said during a Thursday press… Continue reading

Most Read