The legalization of recreational marijuana is taking the United States by storm. In 2014, Alaska joined Colorado, Washington, and Oregon in legalizing recreational marijuana.
But several times now, anti-cannabis politicians and billionaire interest groups have attempted to derail legalization at the local level, hoping to instill enough fear in voters to vote for bans on commercial sale.
One such community is Valdez, and last Tuesday, they voted overwhelmingly to reject a ban on all marijuana businesses in the city.
Preliminary results indicate that the initiative lost by a huge margin, 835-268. There are 171 absentee ballots and 64 contested ballots that were yet to be counted as of Wednesday afternoon.
Valdez has only one marijuana shop, Herbal Outfitters. It opened on October 29th and was the first to open in the state of Alaska after legalization.
There are now more than 20 Herbal Outfitters across the state. Richard Ballow, the shop’s owner, expressed gratitude Valdez’s voters.
“I am the most honored guy in the whole world,” he said after the votes were tallied. Ballow strongly advocated against the ban.
He and his supporters alongside members of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association took to the streets of Valdez on election day, waving signs and urging people to get out and vote. Their efforts weren’t in vain.
The Valdez City Council certified the results on Wednesday morning, May 3rd.