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Alaska Is One Step Closer to Allowing In-Store Cannabis Use

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board approved a proposal that would permit cannabis use inside of retail storefronts.

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Last month, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board brought three proposals to the legislative table that would allow marijuana consumption inside retail pot stores. Not unlike the initiative to permit cannabis cafes in Denver (which has struggled due to over-regulation), these measures are aimed to provide users with a safe and designated place to enjoy their legally purchased green.

After a three-day meeting last week, the state cannabis committee’s board members voted 3-2 to allow rules to be created for on-site pot use at retail shops. The proposed regulations would cover a number of specifics, including ventilation, the location of the storefront, and how much marijuana can be consumed in the space.

Alaskans will be given 60 days to respond to the proposal before the board revisits the draft rules at a meeting that will likely take place in November. If passed, these laws would make The Last Frontier one of the first states to successfully regulate cannabis use in retail shops.

State regulators originally passed an amendment permitting on-site cannabis consumption in 2015, but the rule drafting process was abandoned the following year over public concerns about secondhand smoke. In March, the council decided to go back to the drawing board, and the rework seems to have garnered their favor.   

Alaska Marijuana Control Board member Brandon Emmett offered arguments in support of the proposal, stating that tourists who come to Alaska and buy cannabis have nowhere to legally smoke it. He also alluded to Anchorage Assembly’s recent resolution calling for state marijuana regulators to legalize in-store use.

In addition to the newly approved regulations, the board has also amended the rules for licensing background checks, changing the required renewal date from every year to every three years. The Alaskan cannabis industry also got a series boost, as 26 new business licenses were issued to cultivators, retailers, as well as a testing facility.

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