Pubdate: Wed, 25 Feb 2015
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 2015 Associated Press
Author: Molly Dischner, Associated Press


JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Alaska on Tuesday became the third U. S. state 
to legalize marijuana. But the historic day passed with little public 
acknowledgment in a state with a savvy marijuana culture that has 
seen varying degrees of legal acceptance of the drug for 40 years.

Supporters said the day was a milestone, comparing it to the end of 
Prohibition. But unlike in Colorado and Washington state, there were 
no street parties and public smoking displays in Alaska's biggest cities.

Dolly Fleck- Phelps, a Kenai resident with an ancillary marijuana 
business, said she thought people would look back on the day as a 
turning point for Alaska. "Absolutely this is history in the making," 
Fleck- Phelps said. "This is the opening of the door. Now it's time 
for the real work to begin."

Legalization marked the end of a 43- year political battle for Bill Parker, 70.

The Anchorage man, who was listed as a sponsor of the initiative, 
first banded together with a group of young Democrats elected to the 
state House of Representatives to introduce a legalization bill in 
1972. "Gee, there weren't enough votes to worry about," the retired 
deputy commissioner of corrections said.

Parker's hopes for legal weed dwindled as he saw Alaska become more 
Republican and more conservative over the years. He said perhaps the 
marijuana vote marks the end of that pendulum swing.

Now that pot is legal, Parker is ready to take a pause to enjoy the 
moment, but he said he won't stop fighting.

"Well, it makes me feel good. It's not over, of course. The 
initiative passed by between 5 and 6 percent, so 40 some percent of 
the people voted against it. Not all of them are ready to lay down 
and go along," Parker said.

As of Tuesday, adult Alaskans can not only keep and use pot, they can 
transport, grow it and give it away.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom