Cannabis

Marijuana board to take up onsite consumption rules

JUNEAU (AP) — Marijuana regulators in Alaska plan to consider rules this week for consuming marijuana products at authorized retail pot stores — a first among states that have legalized the recreational use of pot.

Late last year, the Marijuana Control Board voted to allow people to use marijuana at certain stores that will sell it. But rules surrounding in-store use still need to be ironed out.

No licenses have been issued yet.

Senate approves federal check bill for marijuana licenses

The Senate approved a bill on April 22 that would allow the state to request federal background checks for marijuana license applicants.

The bill’s main focus revises alcohol regulations to streamline enforcement, a measure in review since 2012.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, also changes statutory language to allow the Department of Public Safety to request federal background checks for commercial marijuana license applicants.

Mat-Su Assemblyman proposes marijuana moratorium

The Mat-Su Borough could halt marijuana commercial activity in its unincorporated areas sooner than thought if a proposed moratorium passes the Assembly.

Mat-Su Borough Assembly member Randall Kowalke introduced a temporary moratorium on commercial marijuana on April 19. The Assembly will accept public comment and vote on the moratorium on May 3. Depending on the results of an October borough ballot initiative that would ban commercial marijuana, the moratorium could extend indefinitely.

LeDoux shelves House, Senate bills that would ban smoking statewide

Operators of marijuana clubs had reason to celebrate the unofficial national pot smoking holiday of April 20. A bill that would have banned smoking statewide in workplaces and other enclosed spaces won’t pass this year, and a version of the bill to be introduced in the next legislative session will leave marijuana consumption out.

Both Senate Bill 1 and its House companion, House Bill 328 would have replaced Alaska’s current local control system with a statewide prohibition.

Banking woes easing for some legal pot businesses

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — In a once-empty office in Oregon's Department of Revenue headquarters, officials have created a mini-fortress.

Recently hired workers sit behind bulletproof glass at a window inaccessible to the public. Police officers brought out of retirement roam the building with handguns on their hips. Security cameras monitor the hallways.

Kenai zoning commission greenlights first marijuana grow operation

KENAI — Kenai’s first commercial marijuana business — Red Run Cannabis Company — has permission from the Kenai Planning and Zoning Commission to open a cultivation facility and shop beside the Spur Highway in Kenai’s Thompson Park subdivision, an area where commercial zoning sits adjacent to residential zoning.

The store’s proximity to the neighborhood had led to opposition from some owners of nearby houses.

Senate panel OKs medical marijuana access for veterans; Alaska to see $561M in construction spend

A Senate subcommittee moved veterans one step closer to accessing medical marijuana in states where it is legal, which up to this point has been strictly prohibited under a 2011 Veterans Health Administration directive.

Marijuana bill stalls in conference over rural opt-out

A bill standing in the way of marijuana license applications is still deadlocked in Conference Committee, as legislators argue over a bill provision that would opt rural Alaska villages out of commercial marijuana.

House Bill 75, introduced by Rep. Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla, and its Senate companion, a committee substitute Senate Bill 14, remain under consideration after an April 13 hearing that underlined disagreements but brought no conclusion. The committee broke to compile more information regarding unorganized villages that have opted out of alcohol sales.

Marijuana social clubs dwindle as legal confusion reigns

Anchorage’s Pot Luck Events is the only marijuana social club still operating without a legal challenge, as statewide puzzlement to their legality produces a patchwork of local controls.

Fairbanks’ The Higher Calling and Homer’s Kachemak Cannabis Club have both closed, and the City of Kenai is seeking an injunction against Green Rush Events.

The clubs, which allow dues-paying members to share and consume cannabis but do not sell it themselves, inhabit either a murky legal area or a clearly defined one, depending on whom you ask.

Marijuana, tobacco public smoking ban passes Senate

A bill that would ban onsite marijuana consumption passed the Senate on March 30, before a House companion bill has a hearing in the Health and Social Services Committee.

In public comment and in Senate testimony and debate over the legislation aimed at tobacco products, none of the public or senators addressed its affect on state marijuana industry regulations.

Both Senate Bill 1 and its House companion, House Bill 328, come from American Cancer Society pressure to ban smoking statewide, rather than Alaska’s current local control system.

Murkowski asks AG to review gun rules for marijuana users

Sen. Lisa Murkowski picked up an issue Lower 48 states with legal marijuana still haven’t resolved in a March 2 letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

The letter asks Lynch to reexamine federal gun regulations inconsistent with state laws where marijuana is legal. Along with banking — federal laws prohibit bank involvement with marijuana businesses — gun ownership exemplifies a schism between federal and state laws concerning cannabis.

Pot permits wait on background check bill

A number of bills in Juneau are creating delays in completing approvals for marijuana business license applications.

Prospective marijuana business owners began submitting license applications to the state on Feb. 24, with more than 200 received as of March 25, but their licenses will be held at the end of the process until one bill passes.

Marijuana Control Board director Cynthia Franklin said her staff of four reviewers is still working on licenses, but that they run into a wall at the end of the process where criminal background checks must be performed.

Cultivation dominates marijuana applicants

The first batch of marijuana business licenses is available to the public, and so far Alaskans have more interest in growing than selling.

The Marijuana Control Board began accepting license applications on Feb. 24, but only made them available to the public March 14. Public figures from various marijuana industry and political groups have filed, including members of the Marijuana Control Board itself and the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association.

Cultivation licenses dominate marijuana applications

The first batch of marijuana business license applications is available to the public, and so far Alaskans have more interest in growing than selling.

The Marijuana Control Board began accepting license applications on Feb. 24, but only made them available to the public March 14. Public figures from various marijuana industry and political groups have filed, including members of the Marijuana Control Board itself and the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association.

Assembly eases Anchorage marijuana setbacks

The Anchorage Assembly freed up more marijuana space for Anchorage on Feb. 23, but further limited the already scarce zones in Chugiak and Eagle River.

The new rules seem a win-win for the two Assembly members it concerned, Amy Demboski and Patrick Flynn.

 The reconsideration holds the intent of the final Assembly land use package passed on Feb. 9 — which was packed with amendments adding additional restrictions to Chugiak and Eagle River — while partially responding to industry panic of overregulation in Anchorage.

Anchorage Assembly to reconsider marijuana land use rules

Anchorage marijuana regulations could get a makeover only two weeks after their final passage by the Anchorage Assembly, potentially revising the 500-foot distance marijuana businesses must be from sensitive areas and how that distance is measured.

The Assembly will hold a meeting on Feb. 23 to reconsider its marijuana land use ordinance, which established zoning regulations for cannabis businesses including setbacks from schools. The Assembly will not take public comments, as they are not required for ordinance reconsideration.

Marijuana industry faces steep lease rates in tight market

Marijuana business can expect a hefty square footage price for retail, cultivation, and manufacturing leases within the Municipality of Anchorage once they open for business.

On Feb. 24, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board will start accepting business license applications. In the meantime, several industry sources report being charged several times the average per square footage lease rate for their planned marijuana operations, or entering into lease agreements that give a percentage of business profits to the landlord.

Anchorage Assembly finalizes marijuana business regulations

Anchorage’s marijuana industry is set to begin, with a final package of municipal requirements coming weeks before the Marijuana Control Board starts accepting licenses on Feb. 24.

Anchorage tightened certain regulations while holding off on others. New regulations increase buffer zones in Chugiak and Eagle River, add new buffer zone triggers to Anchorage marijuana businesses, bar small-scale commercial home grows, prohibit onsite consumption, and redraft the measurement standard between marijuana businesses and sensitive areas.

Juneau bars some materials for marijuana concentrates

JUNEAU — Anybody attempting to make marijuana concentrates using butane, propane or any other such chemical had better think twice. Not only could using these gases result in a potentially deadly explosion, they will now result in misdemeanor charges, too.

Anchorage Assembly finalizes pot regs

Anchorage’s marijuana industry is set to begin, with a final package of municipal requirements coming weeks before the Marijuana Control Board starts accepting licenses on Feb. 24.

Anchorage tightened certain regulations while holding off on others. New regulations increase buffer zones in Chugiak and Eagle River, add new buffer zone triggers to Anchorage marijuana businesses, bar small-scale commercial home grows, prohibit onsite consumption, and redraft the measurement standard between marijuana businesses and sensitive areas.

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