Licensing delays cost Alaskan marijuana license applicants time, money

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Applicants for cannabis business licenses in Alaska could be forced to wait up to five months for their paperwork to be reviewed, despite a state statute stipulating that licenses should be granted in roughly 90 days.

Prospective licensees told the Alaska Journal of Commerce the long wait times are costing them money.

One cultivation business owner told the Journal she has been waiting on her license for six months. She said she has been paying rent and insurance on a building she’s not using so she can show proof of occupancy for her application.

The wait time for licenses has increased since the first round of licenses were approved in June 2016; occasionally, the Journal reported, the lag time has been more than a year.

Erika McConnell, the executive director of the state’s Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office (AMCO), wrote in her director’s report to the Marijuana Control Board that the AMCO is understaffed and its workload overwhelming, the Journal reported.

AMCO staffers are spending an “inordinate amount of time” working with applicants on details in their applications, she wrote in her report, and applicants are sometimes “resistant” to advice, she noted.