Anchorage Official Moves to Ban Rec Sales in City

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Though Alaska voters spoke earlier this month on recreational marijuana, the state’s largest city might still decide to ban the industry from setting up shop.

Ballot Measure 2 – which legalized recreational cannabis sales in Alaska – passed with just over 52% of the vote earlier this month, but an Anchorage Assembly member wants to ban rec sales in the city, according to the Alaska Dispatch News. Such a move is legal under the provisions of Ballot Measure 2, and similar steps have been taken by dozens of towns and counties in Colorado, the first state to begin selling marijuana for recreational use.

Assemblywoman Amy Demboski has prepared an ordinance to prohibit marijuana cultivation, production, testing and sales in Anchorage. The measure was slated to be introduced on Tuesday during an Assembly meeting, and a draft of the proposed ban is available on the Assembly website.

Demboski told the Alaska Dispatch News that she doesn’t want Anchorage to be the “guinea pig” for the rest of the state, and wants to wait until there are clear regulations for the industry before deciding to give marijuana businesses a green light.

The recreational industry in Alaska is still a long way from being up and running – after the election results are certified by the state, Ballot Measure 2 goes fully into effect three months later, and then either the Alcoholic Beverage Board or a special marijuana control board has another nine months to write draft regulations for the industry. The earliest that hopeful entrepreneurs will be able to apply for business licenses is February 2016, so shops in the state may not open til that summer.

Alaska in many ways is starting from scratch on cannabis business regulations, because even though medical marijuana is legal statewide, dispensaries are still prohibited, and patients must grow their own medicine.