Alaskans Riled Up Over Proposed Ban on Cannabis Clubs

What good is legalized cannabis if there’s almost nowhere to consume it?

That’s one of the top concerns Alaskans expressed to state regulators about proposed recreational cannabis rules during a two-day public comment period that ends today.

The state’s proposed regulations on recreational marijuana call for a ban on clubs that allow consumers to consume marijuana, nixing a potential business opportunity for entrepreneurs.

That means the only legally protected place to consume marijuana is inside a private home. Many landlords, however, don’t allow that. Marijuana consumers face a similar dilemma in other states that have legalized recreational cannabis.

It’s unclear if the state will look to revise its proposal on the issue. But it seems doubtful, as lawyers have advised the five-member Alaska Marijuana Control Board that it doesn’t have the authority to authorize the clubs because the ballot measure doesn’t explicitly allow them.

Other concerns raised during the public comment period include restrictions on marketing and product potency, as well as prohibitions on non-Alaskan residents from investing or being involved in a marijuana business.

Under the state’s recreational marijuana law, officials have until Nov. 24 to approve regulations. The government must begin accepting license applications by Feb. 24, and must issue the first license on May 25.

4 comments on “Alaskans Riled Up Over Proposed Ban on Cannabis Clubs
  1. Chris Lindsey on

    Being part of the organization that helped write the initiative language, the state’s “we don’t have the authority” argument is a red herring. They clearly have the authority and the language of the initiative is plain. The issue is the adoption of an absurdly broad definition for “public” (as in, public use of marijuana). It is so broad it trumps private property owner rights, and even bans use at private parties, weddings, etc., in violation of the measure. We and many others are hoping to overcome the same prohibition policies that have dominated government thinking for so long.

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  2. hans geier on

    The situation in Alaska is dire for legal marijuana. The board is dominated by members who are too cozy with alcohol…they are developing the narrative in concert with the Legislative Majority in order to stifle the industry before it starts. Unless we unseat some gerrymandered politicians expect a full repeal in 2017.

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  3. Jeremiah Emmerson on

    There is a severe conflict of interest on the Marijuana Control Board with the director. Also the same director has fought very hard to prohibit the clubs even before the regulations were released to the public. At one point she mailed them cease and desist letters before she had any autbority.

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  4. Terry Reed on

    When you have a board that is directed by a former prosecuting attorney, and has sitting a police chief, a drug/alcohol abuse counselor and a politician as the majority, then it is the old law enforcement mindset in power. The rest of the board cannot do much – they’re outnumbered by the old guard who still have the “Reefer Madness” mindset. The social clubs were not shut down because of loss of government control; that statement alone needs questioning: who says we NEED so much government control? The fear of some legislators is the “drugged driver” concept. But the thing is, there are a few dozen studies, several by top govt agencies involved in highway and road safety, which clearly show that it’s just a fear, not factual at all. Drivers who consume alcohol remain the deadly force on the road. There is little to no difference between someone driving with cannabis in their system than someone who just took some cold medicine – it’s likely not the smartest move to drive, but if you have to, you can and it’s safe. The “drugged driver” is a red herring!

    Otherwise, the biggest concern to me is that tourists and older people are NOT going to cotton to having their faces videotaped while committing a federal felony … which is precisely what it boils down to if purchasing at a dispensary in Alaska. This board is requiring this footage. I’m not setting foot in a dispensary that records me doing that, and no one else will be much interested either.

    This board is gutting what the People wanted — for cannabis to be regulated like alcohol. The end. The board is not doing that, they are treating cannabis as if it were still a Schedule 1 drug that somehow requires ten times the involvement of ‘overseers’ from the State while making it impossible for “Mom and Pop” operations to ever succeed. The board is a joke, and the so-called black marketeers are laughing all the way to the bank.

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