In a major policy shift, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board has voted in favor of a plan that would allow recreational cannabis retailers to let customers consume marijuana in designated areas of their shops.
The 3-2 vote follows months of debate over whether marijuana buyers would have any place to use cannabis, besides their homes or other private spaces.
The move could help stores build stronger relationships with their customers and even boost average purchase amounts, as consumers who linger longer at a retail establishment often spend more than those who quickly come in and out.
Alaska’s Department of Law must review the proposed regulations next before they head to Mallott’s desk.
Previously, Alaska prohibited marijuana consumption in public spaces, such as retail stores. The board’s proposed amendment would exclude retailers from the definition of a public space.
In August, the Marijuana Control Board proposed regulations that explicitly ban marijuana clubs where one could bring their own products to consume, and reemphasized on Friday that such clubs would remain illegal.
Local indoor smoking prohibitions would still apply.
Public marijuana consumption is prohibited in the other three states where recreational marijuana is legal – Colorado, Oregon, and Washington State – and in Washington DC.
Washington State has also explicitly banned marijuana clubs.
Colorado does have a small number of private cannabis clubs and is working on rules that would allow them.