Cannabis

Marijuana Control Board rules on CBD oils

Regulators ruled on Alaska's CBD seizures on Feb. 17, maintaining that the products are indeed marijuana, not hemp, and therefore under control of the Marijuana Control Board. The seized CBD products will not be destroyed, but rather the board will retain them until a hemp legalization bill moves through the Legislature. The owners of the shops from which they were seized will not be disciplined. 

Young to co-chair Congressional Cannabis Caucus

Republicans and Democrats now have cannabis as a bipartisan tie that binds.

On Feb. 16, a group of U.S. House representatives from several Western states announced the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

The group is spearheaded by two Republicans and two Democrats: Alaska Rep. Don Young, California’s Dana Rohrabacher, Oregon’s Earl Blumenauer, and Jared Polis of Colorado.

“People are suffering,” Rohrabacher said. “The law is wrong. We have a bipartisan caucus, and we’re going to change it.”

Inaction, CBD raids and Sessions fuel suspicions within cannabis industry

Former Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ confirmation as U.S. Attorney General contributes to, or coincides with, reenergized fears that national, state, and local authorities are slowing Alaska’s cannabis industry growth and could even halt it in its tracks.

Several regulators and industry members have expressed a sharp concern that the Gov. Bill Walker administration has held up the process through the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office, an executive branch function under the Alaska Department of Commerce.

State raids cannabis shops, seizes CBD oil

Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office enforcement seized thousands of dollars worth of imported cannabidiol oils from marijuana retailers on Feb. 9.

The products came from outside Alaska and were not packaged according to Alaska marijuana regulation.

Until they know what it is, officials said, Alaska retailers shouldn’t be selling it.

Marijuana board rejects onsite use

In a surprise move, Alaska’s marijuana control board has abandoned plans for cafe-style regulations that would have allowed marijuana to be consumed in some retail stores.

The 3-2 vote to drop the regulation project follows more than 16 months of research, debate and public testimony that culminated Thursday in a conference room of the State Office Building in Juneau.

“I’m stunned,” said Lacy Wilcox, president of the Southeast chapter of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association.

Brothers share dream for retail cannabis use

By Mark Thiessen

Associated Press

JUNEAU, (AP) — Alaska brothers James and Giono Barrett have a dream: that some of the scores of cruise ship passengers who crowd the streets of the state capital each summer will one day use their shore excursions to kick back and light up a joint in a pot store’s lounge.

The Barretts own Juneau’s first marijuana retail store and want to tap into the $260 million or so that tourists dropped in the small coastal city last year.

Cannabis industry latest to be tangled in Anchorage permitting code

Brian Coyle thought his marijuana lab, AK Green Labs, would open last September.

Nobody told him he needed a “change of use,” or a “nonconforming determination,” or that he would have to solve a spatial Rubik’s cube of parking space on his property — parking spaces over which he said the Municipality of Anchorage is “holding (his building permit) hostage.”

Warren latest to push for cannabis banking

BOSTON (AP) — As marijuana shops sprout in states that have legalized the drug, they face a critical stumbling block — lack of access to the kind of routine banking services other businesses take for granted.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, is leading an effort to make sure vendors working with legal marijuana businesses, from chemists who test marijuana for harmful substances to firms that provide security, don’t have their banking services taken away.

Young cannabis industry will start to mature in 2017

Big changes and big money are on the way for Alaska cannabis in the upcoming year.

Alaska joined the national green rush in 2014, and then spent 2015 hashing out regulations and 2016 scrambling to build out grow operations and retail stores to meet those rules.

In 2017, Alaska’s cannabis entrepreneurs will ramp up into a full-fledged industry, with developed supply chains feeding a ballooning number of retail stores. The industry will finally make the kind of money necessary to bring in tax dollars, and political influence could grow as a result.

Guns, marijuana users, and the feds

Federal courts and the nation’s highest legal official both agree that marijuana will have to shed its status as a Schedule I controlled substance before its users can buy a gun.   

But Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski hinted that talk on the subject isn’t over.

“With the change in administration coming in January further discussions on this issue will have to wait until a new team is installed in the Justice Department,” said Murkowski in a statement to the Journal.

Most state employees can use marijuana off the job

Tera Ollila was smiling when she became one of the first people to legally buy marijuana in Juneau.

When it came time to talk to a reporter, her smile faded.

“Do you have to use my name?” she asked before granting permission.

Ollila, like some of those waiting in line Wednesday and Friday at Rainforest Farms, is a state employee, and while she believed state regulations allowed her to buy marijuana without threatening her job, she wasn’t 100 percent sure.

Covering the cost of cannabis

The State of Alaska will collect its first marijuana taxes this month, but records from the Alaska Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office show the nascent industry has already paid more than three quarters of a million dollars in fees since the first license requests were filed in 2015.

According to the results of a public records request filed by the Juneau Empire, marijuana retailers, testing labs, manufacturers and growers paid $341,512.50 in fees between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016. From July 1 through Nov. 1 this year, they paid another $428,144.

Red Run opens, Kenai now has a pot shop

Back in April, when Roger Boyd was getting Red Run Cannabis Company licensed by the Kenai city government, he told the city Planning and Zoning commission he considered it a statement as much a business. He now considers his statement made.

At Red Run’s opening at noon on Monday, a line stretched to the end of the business’s parking lot. By 1:30, the line remained about the same in length.

Although licensed as both a marijuana cultivator and retail store, the excitement at Red Run Monday was on the retail side.

The Great Cannabis Divide

More Americans than ever have legal access to marijuana, but the cherry glow highlights a gap between the way voters think and what federal lawmakers say and do, according to policy reformers.

Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization of the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, said cannabis legislation confirms one of the sore spots that drove the 2016 federal election cycle — the sense of a growing schism between voters and their federal representatives.

Armentano is happy with the statewide results, but only to a point.

Why did Marijuana Control Board deny this company a license?

Outsiders aren’t allowed to invest in Alaska’s marijuana industry, but like Lower 48 states, they’ll sure try.

Alaska saw its first open attempt at an Outside company finagling its business structure to get into the Last Frontier’s burgeoning cannabis industry. 

At the most recent Marijuana Control Board meeting on Oct. 28, the board rejected a license application for Wild Flower Holdings LLC, the first time the board has rejected anything since opening the application process in February.

At long last, Alaskans can buy legal marijuana

On Oct. 29, nearly two years after Ballot Measure 2 legalized adult use cannabis in Alaska, the retail store Herbal Outfitters opened in Valdez, a small town a half day’s drive from Anchorage. This marks the first retail store opening.

Fairbanks’ Pakalolo Supply Co. made a ceremonial legal cannabis sale the day before.

Those who braved the chill and drizzle to cluster around the store's entrance said two years was worth the wait.

Anchorage zoning laws force cannabis shops to cluster

Legal cannabis sales are about to happen in Alaska, maybe even within the week. Flower and bud and wax and shatter won’t have a wide city network to start, though. The municipal process takes time and has already backfired, as Anchorage residents object to the denseness of pot businesses.

Who can work in a marijuana shop?

A hip new industry is attracting excited workers, but ongoing regulations might block some from the new field.

To work in a licensed cannabis business in the state of Alaska, employees have to pass a training course for a marijuana handler’s permit. Proposed permit requirements, though, are causing some friction for marijuana industry hopefuls who say the potential rules are “unreasonably impracticable.”

Cannabis testing labs set to open this month

For all the frustrations of the regulatory process, the cannabis supply chain is starting to connect.

Retail operations are cobbling together their final plans after having their state licenses issued, the Anchorage municipality has approved its first retail license and will review more in the coming months, a handful of cultivators have harvested or are getting ready to harvest their first batches of legal product, and security companies are standing by to make deliveries.

Study says legalized marijuana does not affect crime or economics

Proponents and opponents of marijuana legalization have more in common than they think: each side makes predictions that for the most part have not come true.

The Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy think tank focusing on free market and limited government analysis, released a study on Sept. 16 analyzing several datasets on crime, employment and drug use in the four states where adult use marijuana has been legalized.

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