Cannabis

Marijuana board wants to deschedule marijuana in face of illegal pot shops

Legislative inaction and Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth’s recent opinion on marijuana social clubs are making waves for an industry an optimistic two months away from the first legal sale.

Court rules no guns for medical marijuana cardholders

Alaska’s hunters and concealed carry holders can’t continue to pack iron if they hold a medical marijuana card, according to a recent court decision.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision on a Nevada case on Aug. 31 that upholds previous Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives order to gun sellers not to sell firearms to state medical marijuana cardholders.

Alaska banks, credit unions won’t follow Lower 48 counterparts into bud business

Marijuana businesses and the State of Alaska have something in common: banks won’t help them reap the rewards of the Green Rush.

In the same week that Alaska banks and credit unions closed the business accounts of several licensed marijuana business owners, U.S. Bank told the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office it can no longer accept credit card payments for licensing fees.

The bank would not give details on its Alaska-based decision.

AG provides opinion on marijuana social clubs

Alaska’s gray market marijuana social clubs may have just gone up in smoke.

Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth issued an opinion Wednesday that marijuana social clubs — which include Anchorage’s Pot Luck Events and Kenai’s Green Rush Events — are illegal.

Lindemuth said these clubs, which allow fee-paying members to consume marijuana on premises but do not sell marijuana, fall under the definition of public consumption, which is prohibited by statute. 

Walker appoints Nick Miller to MCB

Gov. Bill Walker on Wednesday appointed marijuana industry representative Nick Miller to the Marijuana Control Board.

The appointment fills the seat left vacant by Bruce Schulte, the former chair of the board whom Walker ejected from the board on July 29. Miller, the chair of the Anchorage Cannabis Business Association, is in the process of opening a retail store in Anchorage.

As sales near, cannabis industry still lacks unified voice

More than 300 licenses spread among a landmass the size of Mexico is causing some organizational problems for an industry without income or central leadership.

Common theory in the Alaska cannabis industry says the industry needs more time to get onto the map than its sister states in the Lower 48. Colorado, Washington and Oregon each had an established medical marijuana industry for years prior to full recreational legalization. Medical suppliers only needed to switch gears.

More than 100 names on list to fill marijuana board seat

Gov. Bill Walker has no shortage of names to replace Bruce Schulte on the state’s body of cannabis regulators.

Walker fired Schulte from the Marijuana Control Board on July 29, leading to a conclusion on Schulte’s part of anti-cannabis agenda within the governor’s administration. The board’s applicant listings are now stacked with more than 100 industry members, public officials, average citizens and attorneys with varied ties to commercial cannabis.

KPB marijuana ban petition won't be on October ballot

A citizen initiative seeking to ask voters whether commercial marijuana is legal in the Kenai Peninsula Borough outside the cities is a no-go.

The borough clerk’s office finished verifying the signatures Friday and found the petition came up short. The petitioners were 62 signatures shy of the 898 they needed to qualify for the Oct. 4 general election ballot, said Borough Clerk Johni Blankenship.

“They submitted 998 signatures,” Blankenship said. “We were only able to validate 836.”

Buds and bugs: cannabis grow inspections underway

KASILOF — On July 28, Kasilof’s Greatland Ganja became the second of 47 approved cultivation facilities in Alaska to pass inspection and receive its full license despite glitchy tracking software and a worry over plant height limits.

The first, Fairbanks’ Pakalolo Supply Co., passed inspection earlier in July.

Schulte uprooted from Marijuana Control Board

Editor's note: this story has been updated from the original version to include additional comments from Gov. Walker's office and other board members.

Gov. Bill Walker has removed Bruce Schulte from the Marijuana Control Board.

Walker’s letter gives little explanation for Schulte’s removal.

“While I have appreciated your willingness to serve on the Marijuana Control Board, I have determined that your continued representation on this board is not in the best interest of Alaska,” stated the letter signed by Walker and dated July 29.

Marijuana board chair gathers signatures for borough ban

The recently elected chairman of Marijuana Control Board, Peter Mlynarik, is a registered signature gatherer for a Kenai Peninsula Borough petition that would put a commercial cannabis prohibition ballot initiative onto the borough’s 2016 ballot.

Marijuana board revises cultivator limits

The Marijuana Control Board passed a revised regulation for Alaska cannabis cultivation licensees on July 14.

After a regulation approved at the July 8 meeting crossed hairs with instructions from the Alaska Marijuana Control Office, the board changed rules for the cultivators who are currently active but still waiting for a preliminary inspection from AMCO enforcement officers.

Marijuana board calls meeting to revise grow rules

The Marijuana Control Board will need to immediately revise a regulation it passed on July 8, an action that’s become a pattern for a board creating an industry from scratch.

The July 7-8 meeting reviewed public consumption provisions, awarded licenses, and made changes to enforcement officers’ powers. The board will convene an emergency meeting on July 14 to remedy a cultivation regulation flub that would potentially have bankrupted some of the earliest entries to the industry.

Juneau's first marijuana testing lab applies for permit, license

JUNEAU — When drafting their regulations for the growth and sale of marijuana, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board and the Juneau Assembly split the budding industry into four sectors: cultivation, product manufacturing, testing and retail.

Cannabis industry readies for next steps after first licenses approved

The first commercial licenses are issued, growers are gearing up to grow, the Marijuana Control Board is shuffling, and the Alaska marijuana industry is entering a new chapter.

Nearly year after the Marijuana Control Board began its commercial cannabis rollout, on June 9 the board gave the go-ahead to over two dozen marijuana growers looking to stock retail shelves later this fall.

Cannabis labs seek to serve growers off the road system

New products and strategies are being brought to Alaska to make cannabis testing simpler, but it will take more development before it can match other legal cannabis markets.

Before cultivators can sell any of their products to the retail market, they must first send small product samples to licensed testing facilities to screen for potency and contaminants.

Bill allowing rural pot opt-out passes 37-1

After a hiatus, House Bill 75 reappeared on May 16 to sail through conference committee unopposed and passed 37-1 on the final day of legislative session. 

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla, began as an administrative bill to allow the Marijuana Control Board to request fingerprint background checks from the FBI. The bill morphed over time, however, as rural Alaska concerns arose over local control.

The background check provision eventually passed through another bill, leaving HB 75 without the original intent.

Lack of cannabis testing facilities presents bottleneck to sales

The Alaska marijuana industry first business licenses will be issued in June, and the most crucial kind have the lowest number of applications.

Testing facilities — one of the four commercial cannabis licenses created under legalization — present a possible industry bottleneck. All cannabis products sold in Alaska must undergo tests in state-licensed labs.

Board advances in-store pot use

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board has voted unanimously to ask the public to comment on draft regulations allowing recreational marijuana users to enjoy pot products inside retail stores.

The regulations are the first of their kind in the United States and are a rough equivalent to the nation’s first legal pot cafes.

Marijuana Control Board changes policy to speed licensing process

The Marijuana Control Board enacted a policy decision April 27 that will hurry along the licensing process that has been slowed since the state started taking applications Feb. 24.

The board voted 4-1 to allow its Executive Director Cynthia Franklin to declare license applications complete before state and federal fingerprint background checks are completed.

Only Loren Jones opposed the policy decision of the five-member board.

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