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Alaska Regulators Approve Rules for Onsite Marijuana Use


By Becky Bohrer, Associated Press

(AP) — Alaska regulators have approved rules for onsite consumption of marijuana at specially designated dispensaries, a significant step for the marijuana industry in the state after years of debate. Alaska legalized recreational marijuana use in 2015.

The 3-2 vote by the Marijuana Control Board does not mean people can light up at dispensaries right away. Rather, interested businesses would have to apply for a special onsite use endorsement and devise plans that would meet ventilation and other standards for onsite use and pass muster with the board.

Chris Lindsey, senior legislative counsel with the Marijuana Policy Project, said Alaska would have the first regulatory framework for onsite use at the state level. He called the adopted rules smart and said they could be a model for other states.

The adopted rules call for consumption areas that are outdoors or that are separated from a marijuana retail store by walls and a secure door and meet ventilation requirements. The board would have to find a proposed outdoor site is compatible with the surrounding area.

People could not bring their own marijuana to a consumption area. Stores with onsite use would have to have a smoke-free place for employees to monitor the consumption area.

Local governments, by an ordinance or ballot question, could bar onsite use or certain types of consumption, such as smoking.

The adopted rules also must be reviewed by the state Department of Law before they can be finalized.

AP Photo/Mark Thiessen

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