By Steve Elliott
Alaska could be the next battleground in the effort to legalize marijuana.
A ballot initiative application on Friday was certified by Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, whose office oversees elections.
The proposal would make it legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, though not in public. It would also set up rules for legal cultivation and establish an excise tax on marijuana.
Supporters will have a year to collect valid signatures from 30,169 voters across the state in order to get the question on the 2014 ballot. The group plans to get it done by January and have it on next year's primary ballot, according to petition sponsor Tim Hinterberger, reports The Associated Press.
"It really seems like the whole mood has radically shifted," Hinterberger said.
The conversation is no longer about whether cannabis should be legalized, according to Hinterberger. "Everybody assumes it's going to happen, and now it's just figuring out the details," he said.
"Obviously getting approved by the lieutenant governor's office is a good step indicating that we're not going to run into roadblocks," Hinterberger said. "We're ready to roll."
After about a week -- the time required to prepare the petition booklets -- proponents can start gathering signatures, according to Gail Fenumiai, director of the Alaska Division of Elections.