Alaska Governor Establishes Adult-Use Cannabis Task Force
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Alaska Governor Establishes Adult-Use Cannabis Task Force

The Governor’s Advisory Task Force on Recreational Marijuana will review the state’s current tax and fee structures, as well as the current adult-use regulations, and provide recommendations for improvement to the governor’s office.

September 22, 2022

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy wants to conduct a thorough review of the state’s seven-year-old adult-use cannabis program to help eliminate burdens for the state’s businesses.

Dunleavy issued Administrative Order No. 339 on Sept. 21 to establish the Governor’s Advisory Task Force on Recreational Marijuana, which will review the state’s current tax and fee structures, as well as the current adult-use regulations, and provide recommendations for improvement to the governor’s office.

“In the past seven years Alaska’s marijuana industry has flourished but is still considered a new and evolving industry in Alaska,” Dunleavy said in a public statement Wednesday. “As we would expect to see with any new industry, concerns have been raised about the structure the industry has been operating under. A cornerstone of my administration has been to review unnecessary regulations that are a burden to business, while ensuring oversight to protect the health, life, and safety of all Alaskans. It is my hope that with the formation of the Governor’s Advisory Task Force on Recreational Marijuana, we can bring together a variety of voices and perspectives to evaluate existing provisions and consider recommendations to improve the viability of the industry.”

Alaska voters approved an adult-use cannabis legalization measure in the 2014 election that took effect in February 2015. The initiative levied a $50 per ounce excise tax on the sale of cannabis from warehouses to retailers, and this, among other provisions, is what Dunleavy would like to evaluate.

The 13-member task force will have three voting members who are state officials, according to the press release from the governor’s office, including:

  • The Commissioner of the Department of Revenue or the Commissioner’s designee;
  • The Commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development or the Commissioner’s designee;
  • The Director of the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Agriculture.

The other 10 voting members, according to the press release, will include:

  • One member who sits on the Alaska Marijuana Control Board;
  • One member who represents a city, borough, or municipality that allows recreational marijuana businesses within its jurisdictional boundaries;
  • One member that is a standard licensed marijuana cultivator in the State;
  • One member that is a limited licensed marijuana cultivator in the State;
  • One member that is a licensed marijuana product or concentrate manufacturer in the State;
  • One member that is a licensed marijuana retailer in the State;
  • Three licensed marijuana operators from any segment of the industry;
  • One public member.

Dunleavy must now name appointments to the task force, which will then meet monthly and submit a report with its findings and recommendations by Jan. 13, 2023.

“Gov. Dunleavy’s issuance of this administrative order is a wise first step to bringing forward solutions that could assist the recreational cannabis industry to thrive at the same time we continue to protect public health and public safety in our communities,” Joan Wilson of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office (AMCO) said in a public statement. “After many discussions with diverse stakeholders, I am certain the state and the industry will benefit from this in-depth review, especially when it comes to addressing a stagnant excise tax rate that does not alter based on market price."