A roster of prominent Republicans – both candidates and sitting legislators – showed up Wednesday night in support of a Wasilla fundraiser for the anti- Proposition 2 group Big Marijuana, Big Mistake, although campaign manager for the newly formed Matanuska Valley arm of the anti- marijuana initiative group, Eric Cordero, says Big Marijuana, Big Mistake is non- partisan:
“We are kicking off our MatSu fundraiser campaign here and just getting a lot of more volunteers in the MatSu area. This is going to happen in Fairbanks next week, and it’s going to happen also in Ketchikan in a next few weeks. So we are excited that more and more people are coming on board.”
Cordero says national observers of events in Colorado and Washington are keeping a close eye on the impacts of legalization since those states legalized marijuana.
“And most of our supporters believe that there is absolutely no reason to rush. That we have a petri dish in Colorado and in Washington and we can see what has worked, what hasn’t worked. What are the pros and cons. “
Mat Su Business Alliance director Crystal Nygard used the occasion to announce her organization’s stand on Prop 2:
“And with all of the uncertainty around how they are going to regulate it, how they are going to tax it, and how businesses will be able to either take advantage of the opportunity or not, are not real clear. And we are in a state in Alaska where we don’t need to risk trying to learn new businesses.”
Big Marijuana, Big Mistake’s Valley kickoff event was attended by some prominent Republicans, such as Senate candidate Bill Stoltze, Mat Su Borough mayor Larry DeVilbiss and Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan. Most of the Valley’s delegation to the state legislature made an appearance.
Supporters of Proposition 2, working for the Marijuana Policy Project, say MMP is the largest organization in the country focused on ending marijuana prohibition. MMP spokeman Taylor Bickford, says MMP empowers local activists with tools needed to fight current marijuana policy.
“I don’t think that Alaskans are particularly concerned with what politicians think about this issue. We’ve seen public opinion at the national level and here in Alaska as well, shift dramatically in favor of regulating marijuana like alcohol over the last ten years, and the political leadership and establishment has lagged behind that trend. “
Bickford says responsible adults “should be able to make reasonable decisions about how to live their lives without government intrusion and fear of prosecution.”
Bickford says his group has support from all over the state, regardless of political affiliation. He says proposition 2 is on the ballot because 45 thousand Alaskans signed a petition asking for it. Voters will decide in November.