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ANCHORAGE — Backers of the ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Alaska have added, “Our opponents AGREE!” to ads they launched earlier this week that highlight the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol.
The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol updated the ads, which appear on the sides and rears of city buses, after a spokesperson representing the No on 2 campaign, Thomas Tougas, said he “does not disagree” that “marijuana is not as bad as alcohol.” Tougas made the statement during a debate hosted by the Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce on Tuesday — one day after the No on 2 campaign claimed the original ads send the wrong message.
The ads feature beer, wine, liquor, and marijuana below the words “Beer,” “Wine,” “Liquor,” and “Safer,” respectively. All of the ads now have a large red sticker on them that reads, “Our opponents AGREE!” and includes the full statement made by Tougas.
“We’re glad to see our opponents are finally willing to acknowledge the simple fact that marijuana is safer than alcohol,” said Chris Rempert, political director for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “It remains a mystery why they think adults should be punished for choosing the less harmful substance. It’s not just hypocritical, it’s irrational.”
In 2010, over 2,000 Alaskans were arrested simply for having marijuana, which equates to one marijuana possession arrest every 4.32 hours in this state. Alaska spends upwards of $14 million a year on the enforcement of marijuana possession laws alone according to the ACLU, and 81% of all drug arrests are for marijuana, which is the highest rate in the country.
“If an adult would rather use marijuana while relaxing after work or socializing with friends, why should they be punished? We hope voters — and our opponents — will ask themselves this question in the months leading up to the election,” said Rempert.