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Alaska Is Days Away from Legalizing Marijuana Use at Dispensaries

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By Becky Bohrer, Associated Press

(AP) — Alaska has moved closer to becoming the first in the country with statewide rules allowing onsite use of marijuana at specially authorized dispensaries.

A memo from the state’s Department of Law said it found no legal problems with the rules approved by marijuana regulators in December that will govern where and how onsite consumption could take place. The rules were recently sent to Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer for his signature and are expected to take effect 30 days after they’re signed. A Department of Law spokeswoman confirmed that Meyer’s signature is a formality.

Interested retail businesses will have to apply for a special onsite use endorsement and devise plans that meet security, ventilation and other standards and pass muster with the Marijuana Control Board.

Some in the industry say it’s possible the first onsite use areas are approved by this summer.

“This is something that’s not happening anywhere else in the U.S. yet. As we start to develop this, people are really looking at us, so I know that everybody wants to get it right,” said Cary Carrigan from the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association.

State marijuana regulators have left open for discussion whether cannabis shops that want to offer onsite consumption of edibles but not allow smoking need to be in freestanding buildings.

“Our whole plan is to be courteous to the people that are around us, to the visitors to town, be respectful of the area and our neighbors,” said a dispensary owner. “And the way to do that is to just design the heck out of this place so that it’s absolutely as close to minimal impact as possible on our neighborhood.”


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