Note: This story incorrectly stated the measure would go into effect nine months after certification. The provisions legalizing possession and use of marijuana go into effect in 90 days after certification of the election. The state has nine months to create regulations for businesses and sales.
FAIRBANKS — Ballot Measure 2, the measure to legalize marijuana in Alaska, passed in nearly every precinct in the Fairbanks North Star Borough.
According to latest-available numbers, 56.5 percent of the Fairbanks North Star Borough voted to legalize marijuana on Tuesday, surpassing the statewide vote of 52 percent.
The measure was popular throughout the borough mostly without regard to traditional political leanings of the districts. Of 41 voter precincts in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, only eight didn’t break 50 percent in favor of the measure.
The main areas of opposition centered around North Pole, where just 45 percent of voters favored legalizing marijuana.
The measure was most popular in the Goldstream Valley, where about 70 percent of voters in the two large precincts voted in favor.
The city of Fairbanks was generally positive about the measure, but most precincts voted in the range of 50 to 55 percent in favor of the measure.
The measure was popular throughout Alaska, but wasn’t very popular in Anchorage suburbs, Wasilla and rural areas surrounding Bethel.
The measure goes into effect 90 days after the election results are certified later this month, making marijuana use legal for people 21 and older.
Smoking it in public will remain prohibited. Marijuana will be able to be sold — with a $50-per-ounce excise tax — and retailers will be able to buy it from registered wholesale growers. The state has nine months to create regulations for businesses.
Local communities will be able to squash the business end of the measure through ordinance or voter initiative.
The exact form of the retail implementation will be up to state officials in the coming months as they are tasked with either setting up a separate review board or leaving it up to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
As to the Legislature’s appetite for diving into marijuana legislation this session, North Pole Republican Sen. John Coghill told reporters at a Senate Majority press conference that the Senate will work on reviewing the measure.
“The (newly created) Regulation Review Committee is going to be significant and it’s important to involve the public,” he said. “We’re going to give it (marijuana legalization) a thorough hearing so people know what has been passed.”
For any Legislative action, Coghill said he said it likely will be limited because much of the specifics of implementation will be left up to the administration and the governor’s office.
Contact staff writer Matt Buxton at 459-7544. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.