In the not-so-distant future, campaigns for legalizing weed will be a thing of the past. Most states have loosened their possession laws already, and it’s only a matter of time until marijuana is legalized across the board.
Some states, including Colorado and Washington, already legalized the drug. Other states are fighting to do the same.
But, neither state was the first to approve marijuana for recreational use. Alaska actually legalized it a full 39 years ago, albeit with some restrictions.
According to The Washington Post, the decision to legalize marijuana consumption within the home was made in 1975, following a ruling in the Ravin v. State case.
Currently, the law allows up to four ounces of weed in the home and up to 25 plants, but bringing the drug outside the home could be punishable by law.
The Supreme Court only agreed to allow in-home use on the basis of the Constitution’s right to privacy.
Opponents of legalization claim that allowing free use of the drug will lead to higher rates of addiction, crime and the like.
Although the rate of usage is 30 percent higher among teens and young adults in Alaska than in other parts of the country, and 50 percent higher in adults, the rates of drug dependence are lower across the board.
Yes, the state’s law is complicated. Under federal law, one could still technically get arrested for possession, despite Alaska’s legalization of the drug.
However, state governments can use Alaska as a useful example, learning from the state’s mistakes and triumphs in their long-time flirtation with legalization.