This year, Alaska lawmakers have a chance to stop derailing lives for some old cannabis convictions. Criminal records can make it difficult to get a job, housing, or further one's education. It's outrageous that Alaskans are still haunted by records for conduct that is now legal.
SB 8 would prohibit the state from disclosing records of marijuana possession cases involving personal-use amounts of cannabis before voters legalized adult-use marijuana in 2014.
Following decades of marijuana prohibition, many find themselves limited by criminal histories that remain frozen in time, even as states continue to update cannabis laws. SB 8 would help protect individuals who got in trouble when laws were different.
Under the current proposal, the protection would apply for those who were not charged with any other type of offense and would be limited to marijuana cases involving less than an ounce. The text of the measure is available online here.
As the failure of marijuana prohibition is left behind, we shouldn't also leave behind those who were exposed to the criminal justice system for choosing a substance that is safer than alcohol. Click here to express your support for SB 8.
And please forward this message to those who also support this important protection!
Gov. Mike Dunleavy shocked many last month when he sacked Marijuana Control Board Chairman Brandon Emmett and appointed Vivan Stiver to the board post. Ms. Stiver is a well-known opponent of the adult-use program in Alaska, and many see the move as an ominous attempt to undermine the voter-approved law.
Voters approved the state's adult-use law in 2014 by historic margins. Since then, the state has launched a program that generates jobs, revenue, and avoids much of the harm created by marijuana prohibition. The transition from prohibition to regulation has been a success.
But despite clear advances, there have been detractors, and few are as well-known as Vivian Stiver. From her failed attempt to ban businesses in Fairbanks in 2017, to opposing individual licenses, few opponents have been as notorious as Vivian Stiver. If there is a bright spot in her record, it's that she has been ineffective at imposing prohibition policies so far. That may soon change.
Alaska needs board members who support the regulatory path voters have taken, rather than oppose it. Please send a message to your lawmakers and voice your opposition to this ill-considered and harmful appointment.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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!
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!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
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.