Posted Wednesday, December 28, 2016 - 12:01 pm
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.
Posted Thursday, December 01, 2016 - 2:51 pm
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.
Posted Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 9:10 pm
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.
Posted Friday, November 25, 2016 - 7:25 pm
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.
Posted Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 10:03 am
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.
Posted Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 6:08 am
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.
Posted Thursday, November 10, 2016 - 1:44 pm
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.
Posted Saturday, October 29, 2016 - 12:19 pm
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.
Posted Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - 1:44 pm
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.
Posted Friday, October 21, 2016 - 3:58 pm
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.”
Posted Wednesday, October 05, 2016 - 1:00 pm
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.
Posted Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - 3:26 pm
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.
Posted Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 2:05 pm
Welcome to the conversation, legislators.
Senate and House Judiciary Committees called a joint informational meeting at the Downtown Anchorage Legislative Information Office on Sept. 14 to discuss the hottest and longest running topics in the Alaska marijuana industry: namely timeline, board politics, banking, unlicensed sales, and marijuana social clubs.
The Legislature, which has been mostly absent from discussions surrounding recreational legalization, bowed under the weight of the state budget crisis.
Posted Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - 1:52 pm
Courts, cops, lawyers and the Legislature are each holding one piece of the Alaska cannabis puzzle that doesn’t yet fit together.
The industry is partially divided over how to deal with a rash of unlicensed pot shops, which touches on high-profile drug distribution cases the state has pursued since 2015.
Posted Thursday, September 08, 2016 - 5:12 pm
Retail stores, cupcakes, caramels, cookies and candies replaced enforcement talks at the Sept. 8 meeting of the Marijuana Control Board.
The meeting marked the first issuance of both manufacturing and retail licenses, moving the industry to the final phases before growers have an outlet for their cannabis. Held up for most of the day by manufacturing license discussions, retail stores breezed through by the end of the meeting.
Posted Wednesday, September 07, 2016 - 4:26 pm
Posted Friday, September 02, 2016 - 10:44 am
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.
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 2:41 pm
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.
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 1:06 pm
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.
Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2016 - 6:20 pm
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.