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Alaska on Tuesday became the third U.S. state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults, but it was a subdued milestone.
Unlike in Colorado and Washington state, there were no street parties and public smoking displays in Alaska's biggest cities. But backers of legal pot said the mild reaction was fitting because they are aiming to promote responsible consumption of marijuana as they work with lawmakers during the next few months in preparing its sale.
"We wish people would just celebrate in a little less public of a fashion," said Bruce Schulte, an advocate for legalization. "We want to see this industry thrive in a responsible, regulated fashion, and part of that is responsible consumption."
Placing Alaska in the same category as Washington state and Colorado with legal marijuana was the goal of the pro-pot coalition that included libertarians, rugged individualists and small-government Republicans who prize the privacy rights enshrined in the Alaska state constitution. Legalization is expected in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
When the public voted last November to legalize marijuana use by adults in private places, voters left many of the details to lawmakers and regulators to sort out. That has left confusion on many matters. The initiative bans smoking in public, but it doesn't define what that means, and lawmakers left the question to the alcohol regulatory board. There were missteps even as the board decided pot can't be smoked in places generally accessible to the public, like parks, schools or on the street in Alaska.
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