Alaska petition wants marijuana vote

New campaign could further widen the gap between Canadian, American policy

Supporters seek state-wide ballot

A petition in Alaska wants to put marijuana legalization to a vote.

The campaign, if successful, could widen the divide between Canadian and American policy.

Alaskans are today allowed to possess small amounts of marijuana in their own homes but the sale of marijuana is still a crime.

Supporters of an Alaskan campaign for legalization are circulating a petition to convince the government to hold a vote on the issue. State law requires 30,000 signatures for a question to be put to a statewide ballot.

Tim Hinterberger is a professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage, an occasional marijuana user, and a sponsor of the initiative. He says that wins in states like Washington and Colorado show that public opinion is shifting toward legalization.

"I would love for people in Alaska, who like me have no reason to hide it to come out of the closet and say yeah this is ridiculous.  Let's make this legal," he said.

Hinterberger says the proposal would set a minimum legal age of 21 to consume marijuana. It would be sold in stores and subject to a lot of the same laws that govern alcohol. 

The initiative would allow communities to ban marijuana establishments through city laws.