As the Nov. 24 deadline for Alaska's final marijuana regulations fast approaches, some big changes came out of Friday's meeting of the Alaska Marijuana Control Board, including approving a new class of retail marijuana licenses that will allow on-site consumption and the adoption of new, looser residency requirements.
Tim Hinterberger, Chairman of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, explained in an email letter to the group's constituents, "This is an important decision that benefits adult consumers, those who will be licensed to provide to them, and the communities that want to regulate use.
"Despite clear language contained in Measure 2, some state staff members had advised the board that it could not authorize retail licenses to allow onsite consumption. Many of those who supported Measure 2 were concerned that the issue would be confused and needlessly delayed as the board deferred to lawmakers rather than exercise its own authority. Public comments submitted to the board overwhelmingly supported this change, and we applaud the board for taking this important step," Hinterberger noted.
"While the definition of 'public, adopted by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board in February, did improve with this change, it unfortunately still falls short of acknowledging the rights private business owners have under the law. Nonetheless, this decision marks an important moment in the rule-making process and a victory for those who worked so hard to make Alaska’s regulations successful," he wrote.
The state Marijuana Control Board also adopted, by a vote of 3 to 2, new rules Friday "that could blow the door wide open to outside investment," according to a report in the Alaska Dispatch News.
"Marijuana businesses must be 100 percent Alaskan owned, but the definition of what makes an Alaskan was changed from matching what is needed to receive a Permanent Fund dividend to matching voter registration requirements, which is far easier to achieve," stated the Dispatch News. "Qualifying for a PFD requires documents such as employment and school records or vehicle registration, and a certain number of days spent physically in the state. By contrast, for Alaska voter registration requirements, all that is needed is a physical address and no other voter registration elsewhere."