On Nov. 4, registered Alaskan voters had the chance to vote on Ballot Measure 2, which would allow for use, possession and sale of marijuana to those over the age of 21, the bill passed being favored by 52.15 percent of voters. Under the ballot, marijuana would be regulated and taxed in a way similar to that of alcohol.
Many University of Alaska Anchorage students cared about the ballot measure, making it one of the driving forces for young voters to get out and vote.
“I’m new to voting, but I feel like it’s really important. I think I would be out no matter what the issues were … I think one I feel really definitively on is (Ballot Measure) 2,” said Clair Lubke, a freshman double-majoring in biological sciences and culinary arts.
Lubke wasn’t the only student who was turning to the polls to vote on the legalization of marijuana in Alaska.
“I usually just get the ballots to vote, and I don’t vote for the politicians. … The second one, I feel like that’s important. … Everyone’s going to think I’m a stoner, but that’s okay,” said freshman Ke’Koa Wells.
Computer science sophomore Ryan Richter shared similar sentiments to Lubke and Wells, expressing why he thought Ballot Measure 2 should be passed.
“Ballot Measure 2 and 3, I think, are very important measures that need to be passed. … The shear amount of money we could making off of it in tax revenue is high and the fact that it’s actually being prosecuted is ridiculous,” Richter said.
By the end of Election Day, Ballot Measure 2 was favored by 52.15 percent of voters. The results will be certified by Nov. 28, and 90 days later marijuana will officially become legal. The state has nine months after that to create rules and regulations.
The Ballot Measure 2 campaign “Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” was run by a UAA professor Tim Hinterberger with assistance from Chris Rempert.
At Election Central, Hinterberger weighed in on what the legalization of marijuana means for the university.
“We don’t expect anyone to be using marijuana on campus. That wouldn’t be appropriate. It’s appropriate for use in the home.”
Department of Residence Life Director, Ryan-Jasen Anders Henne confirmed that students living on campus will not be able to use marijuana.
Aside from public use, Hinterberger is enthusiastic for what marijuana can do for not only for Alaska, but also the nation.
“I hope that the increased availability of marijuana for research in the U.S. will lead to better and better understanding of the health effects, and also the important medical uses of marijuana, so that’s going to be a real positive outcome,” he said.
Chris Rempert, who acted as political director of the campaign, worked alongside Hinterberger to legalize Ballot Measure 2.
Before the results came out Rempert was asked if he would use marijuana, to which he responded, “Probably occasionally, just like I very rarely have a beer or two, occasionally I will maybe use some marijuana as well.”
But before Rempert or anyone in Alaska over 21 decides to use marijuana legally, he or she will have to wait until Feb. 26, 2015, 90 days after the results are certified on Nov. 28.