Alaska: First Legal State to OK Option for Social Marijuana Use

Nov 22, 2015 02:34 PM EST | By Steph Tortogo

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Joining Oregon, Washington D.C. and Colorado, Alaska became the fourth legal state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use this year.

Starting from the age of 21 and older, adults may possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants, all for recreational and personal purposes. That was made possible by Alaska voters approving Measure 2, which legalizes possession, use and sale of pot.

Public smoking, buying and selling remains illegal, but private exchanges are allowed if and only if money is not involved.  U.S. president Barack Obama's justice department has permitted this to proceed but with caution, since selling marijuana to children has become probable, as well as people under the influence driving their vehicle.

Just recently, according to Alaska Dispatch News, The Marijuana Control Board voted to permit marijuana usage, if approved by Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, and would make Alaska the first state to allow pot consumption outside of people's homes or other private spaces. This lets people buy marijuana at a retail store, and if in case they feel the need of smoking it after purchase or whatever reasons, allows them to consume it in a designated area on the premises.

However, according to the board, marijuana social clubs, where people would bring their stash to consume, are still considered illegal. In Alaska, several clubs have had an assumption that since the legalization of marijuana, they would be one of the go-to places where you can smoke, but that was slammed by the board. Before heading to Mallot's desk, there will be a formal review that would be conducted by the Department of Law. 

In Colorado and Washington, public consumption has always been illegal, but last July, legislation that explicitly banned clubs was passed in Washington. According to Ro Silva, acting communications director for the Colorado Department of Revenue, the state doesn't monitor or license spaces for consumption. While in Oregon, said Mark Pettinger, spokesman for the recreational marijuana program, social clubs are neither permitted nor banned, but public consumption expressly is.  

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