Voters in Anchorage, Alaska Overwhelmingly Defeat Marijuana Industry Push for “Pot Bars”
(Alexandria, Va) – In an election taking place last week, voters in Anchorage, Alaska overwhelmingly voted down a proposal that would have allowed for the on-site consumption of marijuana. The proposal failed by a margin of 64% to 35%.
Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration, released the following statement praising the results:
“People don’t want to expand the marijuana industry. On-site marijuana consumption has one of the biggest impacts on public safety of any policy shift and has been repeatedly rejected in many jurisdictions that have commercialized marijuana. The impairing effects of marijuana last beyond the sensation of being high. This proposal would have allowed pot shops to double as marijuana ‘bars’ and greatly increase the risk of individuals consuming highly potent strains of marijuana and then getting behind the wheel while impaired. We have seen drastic increases in drugged driving and marijuana-related traffic fatalities in states that have legalized. More must be done to prevent this unfortunate trend, not encourage it.
“Furthermore, we cannot allow the marijuana industry to trample laws put in place to limit the harms of secondhand smoke. In 2007, voters in Anchorage overwhelmingly approved a law to protect employees and the public from secondhand smoke and this was strengthened in 2013 to treat marijuana smoke the same as tobacco smoke. This proposal would have reversed these protections to bring back indoor smoking sections.
“The vote in opposition to this measure is encouraging and is only the latest in a string of setbacks for Big Pot. Across the nation, towns and municipalities are voting in support of measures restricting marijuana industry operations. These local control measures include banning on-site consumption, banning sales, delivery, and even growing operations. We are happy to support these efforts and through our ‘Towns and Cities Initiative,’ we work to have staff and resources available to assist local communities protect their neighborhoods from Big Pot.”