Alaska may be known as the Last Frontier, but it could be among the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. Earlier this week, supporters of the cause submitted 15,000 more signatures than are necessary to get the issue on an upcoming ballot.
State law requires 30,000 signatures in order for an initiative to get on the August 19 ballot, the same day as the state’s primary elections, but the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana gathered more than 45,000, which organizers said they heavily scrutinized to make sure they were legitimate. The law would be similar to Colorado’s recently implemented law, which would legalize possession of an ounce for residents over the age of 21. If given the chance to cast their vote on the issue, a recent poll suggests Alaskans would approve the measure: 60 percent support legalizing it for recreational use, according to a March 2013 Greensberg Quinlan Rosner survey.
Depending on how marijuana legalization in states like Colorado and Washington fares, Alaska could be joined by other states in the coming elections, almost all in the western part of the country. U.S. News & World Report lists Arizona, California, and Oregon as well as Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. as places where legalization could come up for a vote in 2014, with even more states potentially following suit in 2016.