Alaska Might Stick to Rec Deadlines After All

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

After initially indicating he might push for delays in the rollout of recreational marijuana sales, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker said his office is now committed to sticking with the deadlines spelled out in Ballot Measure 2.

That means personal possession will be legal beginning Feb. 24, while draft rules for the industry are due by Nov. 24. Entrepreneurs should then be able to begin applying for business licenses in February 2016, and hopefully stores will open in either late summer or early fall of that year.

There is – unsurprisingly – a catch to all of this.

According to a report by Alaska Public Media, the state’s alcoholic beverage regulatory board doesn’t think those deadlines are realistic if the Legislature creates a new agency to oversee the cannabis industry. And if those deadlines aren’t met, advocates worry that entrepreneurs won’t be given a chance to prove their businesses can be safely managed before the Legislature is allowed to legally begin meddling with the new law in 2017.

Regardless, an Anchorage Republican state senator, who doesn’t believe the state’s liquor control board has the expertise to supervise a new marijuana industry, is already working on a bill to establish a cannabis-specific regulatory board to write rules and oversee licensing.