Proposed MJ Regulations in Alaska Draw Criticism

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Some cannabis advocates and entrepreneurs in Alaska have expressed concern that officials are leaning too heavily on Colorado and Washington State to craft rules for recreational marijuana businesses.

State officials have developed draft rules on the industry covering everything from labeling to advertising to licensing fees. They have released several drafts of these proposed rules, the latest of which is scheduled to be unveiled Monday for public comment.

Officials have reportedly incorporated a lot of language from regulations in Colorado and Washington, which both their launched recreational cannabis industries last year. That’s a mistake because Alaska is a unique market that requires unique regulations, Don Poynter, a spokesman for the Alaska Cannabis Institute, told television station KTVA Alaska.

“Looking at other states for what they’ve done can be helpful to kind of inspire what may need to be done, but at the end of the day, Alaska is a very different place,” Poynter told the TV station.

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board, charged with writing the rules for recreational marijuana production and sales that will become legal in 2016, said it will incorporate public opinion into regulations as much as possible. The board will accept public input on the latest draft rules for 30 days, and it wants to have final regulations in place by Nov. 24, according to KTVA.

Alaska regulators have been attempting to draft rules since November, when Alaskans voted to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. The governor last month named five individuals to the Marijuana Control Board to craft laws for the industry.