Alaska recreational marijuana sales could begin in early 2017

Alaska’s top marijuana regulator predicted that recreational marijuana will be available for public purchase in the state by next February.

But Alaska cannabis entrepreneurs are unhappy with that timeline, noting it’s been two years since the state’s voters approved adult-use marijuana, Alaska Public Media reported.

“I believe that by the time we arrive at February 2017 we will have stores that are operating; we will have product manufacturers that are making products, which have been individually approved by this board – which is a tremendous amount of work,” Cynthia Franklin, director of Alaska’s Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office, told a meeting of state lawmakers.

“We will have testing facilities that are testing; and we will have a lot of cultivation facilities growing a lot of legal marijuana in Alaska,” Franklin said.

But many industry advocates say February is too far away, and they worry about banking and other challenges unique to the legalized cannabis industry, Alaska Public Media reported.

Franklin, for her part, said her agency doesn’t have enough staffers to keep up with the large workload.

Some legislators, meanwhile, raised the possibility of changing state law to allow cannabis clubs where visitors – including tourists – could consume marijuana legally.

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