Alaska marijuana board proposes ban on certain rent deals

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Alaska marijuana regulators have proposed barring marijuana businesses from giving landlords a cut of their sales revenue in lieu of rent, overriding objections from MJ industry officials.

In a 3-2 vote last week, the Alaska Marijuana Control Office (AMCO) cited concerns that the practice would give non-marijuana business license holders – the landlords – the power to “exert influence” over MJ firms, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported.

The proposal now goes out for a 30-day public comment period. The board will resume debate on the issue at its Sept. 14-15 meeting.

Cannabis industry representatives argued the proposed rule would deprive marijuana businesses of an important tool that many have used to get their companies off the ground, the Journal reported.

AMCO Executive Director Erika McConnell said that at least 25% of the nearly 200 marijuana businesses across the state have this sort of lease arrangement, the Journal reported.

The two industry representatives on the board argued against the ban.

“Only the old guard has money and either you have to be a part of that club or beg those people to give you money. Businesses are caught between a rock and a hard place. That’s why you see deals like this,” said board member and industry representative Brandon Emmett. “If we shut those tools off, there will be less tools and less investment.”