Initiative Sponsors Call on Alaska Senate to Pass Critical Legislation to Establish Marijuana Regulatory Board
April 17, 2015
(SitNews) - With the 2015 legislative session scheduled to end on Sunday, April 19, the Alaska Senate is considering a bill that would establish both a regulatory board to oversee the implementation of Ballot Measure 2 and provide the funding essential to the success of the voter-approved law. The bill passed the House with a vote of 36-4 in support and was advanced by the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee Thursday, but critical steps remain according to The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.
HB 123 would create the Marijuana Control Board, a regulatory body dedicated to overseeing and administering both the regulations and businesses that will emerge under Measure 2. The bill also authorizes the state to fund the board’s operation. It still needs to be passed out of the Senate Finance Committee before being considered on the floor by the full Senate.
“Creating a dedicated Marijuana Control Board is essential in order to successfully implement the will of the people,” said Dr. Tim Hinterberger, Chairman of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and original sponsor of Ballot Measure 2. “If the Senate fails to provide regulators with the structure and funding needed, legalization will move forward, but without the resources to implement effective controls.”
In its report released in October, the Marijuana Policy Group, an independent research organization, determined that the emerging industry could create as much as $72 million in new revenue for Alaska between now and 2020, and over $23 million annually thereafter.
“The money our state dedicates to the success of this program is really an investment in the jobs and tax revenue that a regulated marijuana industry will generate,” said Bruce Schulte of the Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Legislation. “Given the historic budget crisis Alaska is facing, we can’t afford to delay the implementation of an important source of new revenue for the state.”
If HB 123 falls short in the Senate, regulation of the emerging industry will fall on the shoulders of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board without providing any additional funding to roll out and administer the new regulatory structure.
Several bills have come under consideration during the 2015 legislative session following the passage of Measure 2. It passed in November 2014 with 53% of voters in support, making Alaska the fourth state to end the failed policies marijuana prohibition.
A hearing was held Friday afternoon by the Senate Finance Committee. The testimony and minutes of this afternoon's hearing are available online.
The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol sponsored and supported the passage of Ballot Measure 2. The organization said it is staying active during implementation of the initiative so that the intent of the law is protected during the rulemaking process.
Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
On the Web:
MARKET SIZE AND DEMAND FOR MARIJUANA IN ALASKA Prepared by: The Marijuana Policy Group - October 27, 2014
The Marijuana Policy Group
Source of News:
The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol
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