Parnell won’t study pot measure ahead of vote

  • Tuesday, July 8, 2014 8:49pm
  • News

FAIRBANKS (AP) — Gov. Sean Parnell said he will not use state resources to study the implications of legalizing marijuana unless voters approve a pot initiative this fall.

Parnell said he would work to implement the initiative if it passes in November; the Republican also is up for re-election this year. But he said he personally opposes the measure, which would legalize recreational use of marijuana by those 21 years of age or older.

“I’m not excited about the prospect,” he told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner during an editorial board meeting. “I think we’re not sending the right message to our kids.”

Voters in Colorado and Washington approved similar measures in 2012. But it took more than a year to put in place the systems for oversight, taxation and quality control. Colorado began marijuana sales Jan. 1, while sales were first allowed in Washington on Tuesday.

If Ballot Measure 2 passes, Alaska would become the third state to legalize recreational marijuana use. Supporters say marijuana should be taxed and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol.

A spokesman for the ballot group earlier this year questioned the state’s initial estimated cost for implementation as “poorly researched fiction.” Cost estimates are part of the certification process for proposed initiatives in Alaska.

Parnell said Alaska would have the benefit of learning from what happened in Colorado and Washington. He said he discussed legalization with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, whose advice was: “Don’t go into this lightly.”

“He urged caution among governors when it comes to passage of this,” he said. “There are a lot of unintended consequences.”

While Parnell acknowledged there are challenges that could come from legalization, he said he won’t ask state employees to prepare for possible legalization now. He said the Department of Law should focus on its existing workload, not on what may happen after the election.

If the measure passes, Parnell said the Legislature and state regulatory agencies would need to establish oversight rules. Ballot Measure 2 also would create a Marijuana Control Board to regulate the new industry.

More in News

Shawn Dick of Talkneetna carries a fresh catch out of the water while dipnetting on the Kenai Beach on July 10, 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Kenai River dipnetting opens this month

The Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery opens July 10

The sun is seen shining above the Kenai River in Soldotna, Alaska, on July 14, 2020. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clario file)
When the temperature hits 70, Alaskans feel the heat — and start suffering health ills

Acclimatization, the angle of the sun at high latitudes and other factors make summer heat more intense in Alaska

A map shows active fires around the state of Alaska on Friday, July 1, 2022. (Screenshot from Alaska Wildland Fire Information Map)
Fire danger prompts restrictions on burning, fireworks

There were 160 fires in Alaska as of Thursday, and of those 17 were staffed with fire personnel

Jessica Cook, left, and Les Gara are photographed in The Peninsula Clarion’s offices Thursday in Kenai. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Gara, Cook campaign on the Kenai Peninsula

The pair cited education funding, reproductive rights and election security as priorities

A map shows the Seward Highway MP 17-22.5 Rehabilitation Project area. The Seward Highway between Mileposts 17 and 22.5 — from about Primrose Campground to near Teddy’s Inn The Woods — will be closed from 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesday starting July 18, 2022. (Screenshot)
Roadwork in Moose Pass to shut parts of Seward Highway

The Seward Highway between Mileposts 17 and 22.5 will be closed from 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesday starting July 18

Former Homer High School athletic director poses on Friday, July 1, 2022, at the high school athletic field in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Work ethic, grit and teamwork

After two decades, Homer athletic director says goodbye to program he helped build

Assembly members participate during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Another renewable energy company seeks to set up peninsula solar farm

Utopian Power wants to build a two-megawatt solar farm on a 40-acre chunk of land owned by the borough

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID hospitalizations up from last week

Hospitalization data is the most effective indicator of the prevalence of the virus

Most Read