Alaska Weighing its Options with Public Marijuana Consumption

Alaska legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2015, but until this year, consumers found it difficult to get their hands on any merchandise. Now that the supply issue has been addressed, the problem for Alaskan lawmakers is where exactly satisfied cannabis patrons can enjoy their purchases after shopping.

Today, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board will meet in Fairbanks to discuss the merits of three different courses of action the state can take on public marijuana consumption. Tomorrow, the board will decide whether or not to implement one of the three plans, which include allowing consumption at approved licensed facilities, public consumption of edibles only, or a two-year moratorium on the topic altogether.

One major Alaskan city is speaking up in favor of social use because local businesses are starting to complain about roaming smokers. Assembly members from Anchorage prepared a resolution in support of public consumption, submitting it to the state board prior to their Tuesday conference.

Anchorage assembly member Christopher Constant explained, “The proposal is to ask the Marijuana Control Board to follow through with the proposal they’ve been working on which is to come up with a way for us to effectively regulate the public consumption in downtown.”

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“How many stores downtown, the distances between the stores and what’s to be done with the public use, in particular with the tourist industry that’s coming up and the fact that we have a million folks flowing through our downtown over the course of the summer,” added Constant.

Anchorage has already approved two downtown dispensaries for recreational sales and aims to get more licensed retailers into the market soon. One of the existing dispensary owners in the city of over 300,000 says finding a consumption solution for tourists is paramount in the industry’s growth.

“If you don’t have a safe place you can consume but you can sell it, it’s just going to cause more issues and the last thing we want to do is cause more issues and have more problems with drugs and alcohol downtown,” said Will Ingram, owner of Alaska Fireweed, where tourists make up roughly half of the client list.



 

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