Cannabis

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.

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.

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