Anchorage Proposes First Rec Laws

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More than a year after Alaskan voters approved recreational marijuana, lawmakers in the state’s largest city have finally released their first proposed cannabis regulations governing land use and zoning.

The proposed regulations, released by the Anchorage Municipal Assembly, would require marijuana businesses to have special land-use permits. They would also prohibit any type of marijuana business – including backyard greenhouse – from operating in residential areas.

Under the proposal, which was drafted by city planning officials, retail shops could only open on commercial properties, and commercial grows and manufacturing operations would only be allowed in industrial areas.

City planners are also proposing to expand the list of businesses and organizations that marijuana establishments would have to be at least 500 feet from.

The list now specifies schools, jails, churches and neighborhood recreation centers, but planners wish to add parks, community centers, homeless shelters, halfway houses and therapy centers for people with disabilities.

Also, marijuana businesses could not be open between midnight and 8 a.m., while retailers would need to develop a “neighborhood responsibility plan.”

State officials are still working on their proposed regulations. Under Alaska’s recreational marijuana law, the state has until Nov. 24 to approve regulations.

The state must begin accepting license applications by Feb. 24 and start actually issuing licenses on May 25.