Tax and Regulate

Alaska Marijuana Control Board to license, regulate cannabis cafes!

New rules mark the first statewide, comprehensive framework for on-site use locations

Yesterday, December 20, the Marijuana Control Board adopted rules that allow cannabis retailers to apply for licenses authorizing on-site use of cannabis by adults 21 and over. This is a major step forward for cannabis policy in Alaska and the United States.

The issue of on-site use came to the forefront over four years ago. Since voters enacted the state’s marijuana initiative, the only option for cannabis consumption was private residences. The new rules provide adult residents and tourists with a place to consume that complies with state and local law.

MPP would like to thank all those who provided testimony to the board in support and the many residents and businesses who worked toward a solution during these past several years!

A copy of the rules is available online, and MPP’s short summary of many of the key provisions is also available.

The regulations will next be reviewed by the state’s Department of Law and must be signed by Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer before taking effect. We hope that dispensaries in communities that support on-site use locations will be able to move ahead and prepare for tourist season in 2019 without delay.

Thanks again to all the supporters and those seeking this change in Alaska!

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Tax and Regulate

Alaska: Public hearing next week to discuss allowing on-site cannabis consumption

Public hearing scheduled for Dec. 19 before the Marijuana Control Board in Anchorage

The Marijuana Control Board will hear public testimony next Wednesday, December 19 from supporters and opponents of proposed rules allowing regulated, on-site cannabis consumption. While it is legal for adults 21 and over to purchase cannabis, it is illegal to consume it in most locations outside a private residence. This is a catch-22 for the state’s many tourists and some residents, and regulators are finally close to a solution. If you are a supporter, please consider attending!

What: Public hearing – on-site marijuana consumption endorsements

Where: State of Alaska Crime Lab, 4805 Dr. MLK Jr. Avenue, Anchorage

When: Wednesday, December 19, 2018 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

A conference line is available for those who cannot attend in person at 1-800-315-6338, access code 69176. For a quick summary of the regulations, along with some talking points and tips, click here.

A copy of the proposed rules is available here, and official notice for the hearing is posted online here.

While there is strong support for the state’s legalization laws and a clear need for on-site options, not everyone supports the proposal. Anti-smoking groups have stepped up lobbying efforts in opposition, despite well-considered restrictions that would help maintain a safe environment for consumers and staff. Strong support for the sensible solutions under consideration must be clear. Don’t let a vocal minority undermine good policy.

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General

Another election, and another historic night for marijuana reform!

Another election, and another historic night for marijuana reform.

Michigan has passed legalization! MPP played a central role in this campaign from start to finish. From coordinating the initiative drafting to overseeing the production of TV ads, MPP staffers worked alongside a excellent campaign team for two years to make Michigan the first state in the Midwest to adopt legalization. This is a huge win that will maintain our momentum in Washington, D.C. to pass a landmark federal reform bill through Congress in the near future.

Utah passed medical marijuana! MPP led the drafting process and played an important supporting role throughout the campaign. We are so proud of the Utah Patients Coalition team on this historic win that will end the heartless policy of criminalizing patients. If we can pass medical marijuana in Utah, then we can pass it in any state in the country…and we will.

In Missouri, voters approved medical marijuana, and they chose the best of the three possible initiatives. We congratulate our allies in the marijuana reform movement for this important win that will help patients access the medicine they need.

Sadly, North Dakota did not pass its legalization initiative. In such a conservative state, it was always an uphill battle. The proponents ran a strong campaign, but in a midterm year, the electorate was always going to be a challenge. North Dakota passed medical marijuana in 2016. It’s only a matter of time before the state adopts legalization, either via ballot initiative or legislative action.

As a movement, we won three out of four states. And for MPP, we’ve now played a leading role in seven of the 10 states that have legalized marijuana for adults (Colorado, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Vermont, and Michigan).

We couldn’t do this work without the support of voters, allies, activists, and donors. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who made these crucial victories last night possible.

In other great news, voters elected at least seven governors who support ending marijuana prohibition — Ned Lamont in Connecticut, JB Pritzker in Illinois, Michelle Lujan Grisham in New Mexico, Tim Walz in Minnesota, Gavin Newsom in California, Jared Polis in Colorado, and Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan. For more details, check out our elections page.

 

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Tax and Regulate

Alaska: It’s not too late to submit written comments supporting on-site cannabis consumption rules

Written comments can be submitted by email until 4:30 tomorrow, November 1

The Marijuana Control Board is still accepting written comments on proposed rules for on-site use, which may be submitted by email until 4:30 p.m. tomorrow, November 1. Oral comments may also be submitted at a hearing to be held on Wednesday, December 19.

A link to the state’s announcement on the public comment period is available here, and the proposed rules are available here. Those who would like to submit comments by email may direct them to amco.regs@alaska.gov.

Under the proposal, a retailer could obtain an endorsement allowing it to sell adults 21 or over up to a gram of cannabis, which could be consumed at the premises. Products containing THC or other cannabis ingredients could also be sold, in addition to non-cannabis food and non-alcoholic beverages. Concentrates would be prohibited. Significant security and access provisions would apply, but these seem reasonable, and local communities would have final say.

Adoption of the proposed rules would be a significant step forward and a solution to a pressing challenge, and it is likely these rules would provide a model for other states considering on-site use.

Please consider contributing to the discussion and submitting your comments in support, and please forward this message to those in your network!

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Tax and Regulate

Alaska: Marijuana Control Board issues proposed on-site consumption rules

Board seeks public input, with written comments due by November 1

The Marijuana Control Board, which oversees the state’s regulatory system for cannabis, has released proposed rules governing on-site consumption of cannabis at approved locations. Members of the public are invited to review and provide written comments on the proposed rules by 4:30 p.m. on November 1.

A link to the state’s page announcing the proposed rules is available here, and a copy of the rules themselves is here.

Under the proposal, a retailer in a freestanding location could obtain an endorsement to sell adults 21 or over up to a gram of cannabis, which could be consumed at the premises. Products containing up to 10mg THC could also be available, although concentrates would be prohibited. Retailers could provide non-alcoholic drinks and non-cannabis foods. Significant security and access provisions apply, but these seem reasonable.

The proposal would close a significant gap. Currently, adult consumers have nowhere to consume cannabis except in private residences, presenting significant problems for tourists visiting Alaska, who often don’t have access.

Written public comments are due no later than November 1. The board will also hold a public hearing, currently scheduled for December 19 in Anchorage. Those who want to provide comments in person are invited to present them at that time.

If you are an Alaska resident, please consider adding your voice in support of sensible rules for consumers, and help spread the word and forward this message to others in your network!

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Tax and Regulate

Voters Defeat Business Bans in Alaska

Three measures aimed at banning cannabis businesses were soundly defeated in Tuesday’s Alaska elections. Voters in the city of Fairbanks, the Fairbanks North Star Borough, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough each rejected measures aimed at banning cannabis businesses.

This is fantastic news! Huge congratulations go out to all those who voted, and the many supporters and advocates who worked hard in opposition. Your great work paid off!

All indications are that the measures were defeated by wide margins. The KPB’s unofficial result was 64% in opposition, with the city of Fairbanks estimated at 69% and FNSB’s estimate at a whopping 70%.

If the prohibitionists had succeeded, businesses would have been shuttered, taking jobs and livelihoods with them, and adult consumers would have been cut off from legal, regulated access. But just as they have in other legalization states like Washington, Colorado, and Oregon, voters continue to support the better approach.

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Prohibition||Tax and Regulate

Alaska Publishes Proposed Rules for Cannabis Cafés

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board published proposed rules for cannabis cafés. Please take a look and consider submitting written comments in support.

It’s important for the board to hear that the public wants adults to be allowed to consume cannabis at regulated establishments.

Comments are due by October 27 at 4:30 p.m., and they may be submitted by email to amco.regs@alaska.gov, or by regular mail. For more information on making submissions, please see the state’s public notice, available online here. While comments are not due until late October, we strongly encourage you to submit them early so that board members have time to review and consider submissions.

Under the current proposal, the state would allow cannabis flowers to be purchased and consumed on-site by vaporization or smoking, one gram at a time. Concentrates would not be available. Cannabis edibles and food that does not contain cannabis could also be available. A newly proposed addition to the rules would ensure cannabis café workers are not exposed to marijuana smoke while on duty.

The status quo is unworkable for the state’s tourists, and adult residents should not be relegated to private homes when alcohol consumers can choose from a variety of bars and restaurants. It is also important to ensure renters — whose leases may prohibit cannabis consumption — are not shut out of the freedoms Alaskan homeowners enjoy.

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Tax and Regulate

Alaska Gets Initial Approval for On-Site Consumption at Marijuana Retailers

The regulatory body in charge of marijuana policy in Alaska has just taken steps to become the first state to allow on-site consumption at retail marijuana stores.

Alaska Dispatch News reports:

At the Alaska Marijuana Control Board's meeting held Wednesday through Friday this week in Fairbanks, board members approved 3-2 a proposal to set up rules for on-site marijuana consumption at retail stores.

The proposal includes a draft of specific rules for everything from ventilation and location of these consumption areas to how much marijuana can be used there, and much more. Citizens will have 60 days to comment on the proposal before the draft rules come back to the board, likely at the November meeting.

In November 2015, the board voted to allow on-site consumption at marijuana stores. Alaska Dispatch News reported at the time that the amendment passed to allow such consumption would function "as a placeholder," pending more specific rules. In February, Alaska Dispatch News reported the board abandoned a regulatory project that had been in the works since May 2016. But then, in March, the body decided it would take another stab at it.

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Tax and Regulate

First Retail Marijuana Store Opens in Alaska

Alaska reached yet another historic milestone on Saturday, October 29, when the state’s first marijuana retailer opened in Valdez. This week, Fairbanks’ first marijuana stores open, while Anchorage’s first store is expected to open in early November.ak-seal
Some supporters have wondered why it has taken nearly two years for retail marijuana to become available after 53.2% of Alaska voters approved the legalization initiative on Nov 4, 2014. But, considering the decades of fighting against marijuana prohibition, what has happened in the last two years feels like incredibly rapid progress. We continue to work to ensure Measure 2 is faithfully and responsibly implemented — most recently by encouraging the Marijuana Control Board to move forward with establishing rules for cannabis cafés.

So far, the Marijuana Control Board has approved 48 marijuana retail business applications. Many other retail business applications remain under consideration, and the review process continues. For specifics on the state program, including a calendar with important benchmarks, frequently asked questions, the most recently proposed cannabis café regulations, and training videos for applicants, click here.

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Tax and Regulate

Alaska Issues First Marijuana Business License

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board issued the state’s first retail business license on September 9, reaching yet another milestone in the rollout of the voter-approved program. Frozen Budz, which plans to make cannabis-infused products in Fairbanks, received Alaska’s first retail license.ak-seal
Many other applications remain under consideration, and the review process for other retail businesses continues, if slower than many expected.
In addition, despite the board’s assurances earlier this year, it has not adopted rules or considered applications for cannabis cafés. With establishments that allow on-site consumption of alcohol commonly available, adults 21 and over who choose to consume a safer product should be able to partake at a regulated establishment, whether a resident or not.
The board previously issued a limited but sensible rule enabling some retail establishments to allow on-site consumption. It is troubling that the board’s decision to clearly authorize and regulate these important businesses could be stalling. With the recently issued opinion by Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth that bring-your-own cannabis clubs are unlawful, the board should proceed with the licensed alternative — retail cafés — without further delay.

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