Alaska First State to Finalize On-site Marijuana Consumption Rules
By MARY KAUFFMAN
March 13, 2019
Lt. Gov. Meyer's signature was simply a formality following the Alaska Marijuana Control Board's approval in December. A memo from the Alaska Department of Law said no legal problems were found with the rules approved by marijuana regulators of where and how onsite consumption could take place.
Under the new rules, which take effect April 11, licensed cannabis retailers may apply with state regulators for an additional “on-site consumption endorsement.” Local governments can challenge the applications in certain instances, or initiate a municipal vote to limit onsite activities.
“When these rules go into effect, Alaska will be the first state to finalize and approve statewide rules for on-site consumption. We expect more to follow suit in the not too distant future,” stated NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “Allowing social consumption is sensible from a business perspective, particularly for states with large amounts of tourists who otherwise have no place to legally consume, but it also has an important social justice component.”
“By preventing retail outlets and other venues from being licensed and regulated for social consumption, many patients will have to chose between effective cannabis treatment for their ailments or being thrown out of public housing,” Altieri continued, “This causes the civil liberties that come with marijuana legalization to still being kept at arms length from low-income individuals and members of other marginalized communities.”
Industry observers said is is unlikey that the first Alaska marijuana smoking lounges will open for business before mid-July.
“This is something that’s not happening anywhere else in the U.S. yet,” Cary Carrigan, executive director of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, told the Associated Press earlier. “As we start to develop this, people are really looking at us, so I know that everybody wants to get it right.”
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