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Alaska marijuana: Recreational marijuana bill gets signatures, voting this 2014

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An Alaska marijuana bill might soon make Alaska the third state here in the U.S. to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, as over 46,000 signatures have been submitted to the state election office this week. If approved, the citizens’ group’s attempt might make the voting process on the controversial issue begin as early as Aug. 2014. The CS Monitor tells the latest on this hot-button matter this Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014.

The Alaska marijuana initiative will begin preliminarily with the signatures being verified. A total of roughly 30,000 authentic signatures will be needed for the pot smoking approval bill to be set into official motion. The total signature list will need to come from a minimum of seven percent of Alaskan voters in a minimum of 30 House districts. Once agreed upon, the election over recreational weed usage in the nation’s most northern state will come back to public voters as part of the process this Aug. 19.

"It's clear that Alaskans are eager to have an opportunity to express their displeasure with the current system and make a change," said one of sponsors, Tim Hinterberger, a professor in the School of Medical Education at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Other proud sponsors seem confident that the signatures will be approved, and that once the ballot is given back to Alaskan citizens to decide on supporting recreational marijuana use, they will vote in favor of the 2014 bill.

"I have a great feeling today," said another sponsor, Mary Reff, after she and other volunteers carried in over 20 boxes of signatures to the state elections office in Anchorage.

Both Colorado and Washington have made groundbreaking strides here in the U.S., being the first regions to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, and it is said that the political “language of the Alaska marijuana initiative is very similar to that of the recent Colorado measure.”

After signatures are tallied, state election officials have two months to then deny or formally accept the initiative to appear on the August ballot. Alaska’s history with the drug, however, is quite a complicated one, but if all goes well, our northernmost state might very well become the third to approve marijuana. What are your thoughts on the decision?