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Law Alaska


Well-Known Member
Shock of shocks....we didn't yet have a thread for a full legal state: Alaska. Now we do :cool:

How Alaska’s Pot Businesses Carry Pounds of Weed on Planes—With Police Blessing

Who hasn’t had a minor airport meltdown at the prospect of having forgotten to remove that bag of weed or those joints stashed at the bottom of the makeup bag?

What about legal growers or dispensary owners who need to get large bags of the ganja from one place to another?

One such professional, owner of Weed Dudes, in Sitka, Alaska, said she nearly plotz.

“I was so scared, and I learned that I needed to find a new antiperspirant, because mine failed miserably,” Michelle Cleaver told adn.com about her first time boarding a plane with five pounds of marijuana in her carry-on at the Anchorage International Airport.

That was back in December, when she was taking commercially grown cannabis from Anchorage to her shop, which opened in January of this year, making it the first and only pot shop to serve Sitka’s population of 8,881 souls.

Since then, Cleaver’s nerves have leveled out. She’s flown with marijuana, thousands of joints and many pounds of edibles on numerous times.

How does she do it? With the blessing of the airport police.

After all, some communities in Alaska are only accessible by sea or air. Sitka is one of them.

Anchorage airport police have been allowing small amounts of weed through security for years, but only in a carry-on.

Passengers carrying the legal state limit of marijuana (one ounce or less) can keep it after being interviewed by police, said Jesse Davis, chief of the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Police and Fire.

Last November, police at the Fairbanks International Airport adopted the same policy.

Those two airports allow weed businesses to carry much larger quantities of cannabis, so long as the passenger is following state law. (cont)
Cannabis still hovers around $28 or $30 a gram because of lack of product and stores in AK which will change over time. Many people are continuing to buy from the black market. Who can afford those prices?
Pot and Lots of Money: Six Things About Tuesday's Anchorage Assembly Agenda

Submitted by Marijuana News on Tue, 07/11/2017 - 08:46

The Anchorage Assembly meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday on the bottom floor of the Loussac Library.

The two big topics? Marijuana and money. A resolution from the downtown assemblyman points to a brewing storm over public consumption and the number of pot shops downtown.

Meanwhile, the city wants a few more million dollars to finish its long-suffering SAP software upgrade project, and another half-million to backfill revenue losses posted by the Sullivan Arena in 2016.

Here's a rundown of six key issues on this week's agenda. The full agenda is available on the city website.

Resolution backs marijuana cafes
A resolution from downtown Assemblyman Christopher Constant asks the Alaska Marijuana Control Board to authorize pot consumption in retail stores during the board's meeting in Fairbanks this week. The resolution, which is focused on downtown Anchorage, cites the "risk and potential for illegal consumption of marijuana in public" for locals and tourists.

Constant's resolution also references residents and business owners who want to limit the number and concentration of pot shops downtown. An Anchorage Downtown Partnership committee will meet this week to examine those issues amid worries about property values, said executive director Jamie Boring.

Speaking of pot shops
The Assembly will consider two licenses Tuesday night, one of which is downtown. True North Cannabis, a retail shop, is located at 735 W. Fourth Ave. A grow operation, CloudBerry Partners, wants a license to operate at 3307 Spenard Road.

Expected Assembly action: Vote
Alaska Is One Step Closer to Allowing In-Store Cannabis Use

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board approved a proposal that would permit cannabis use inside of retail storefronts.

Last month, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board brought three proposals to the legislative table that would allow marijuana consumption inside retail pot stores. Not unlike the initiative to permit cannabis cafes in Denver (which has struggled due to over-regulation), these measures are aimed to provide users with a safe and designated place to enjoy their legally purchased green.

After a three-day meeting last week, the state cannabis committee’s board members voted 3-2 to allow rules to be created for on-site pot use at retail shops. The proposed regulations would cover a number of specifics, including ventilation, the location of the storefront, and how much marijuana can be consumed in the space.

Alaskans will be given 60 days to respond to the proposal before the board revisits the draft rules at a meeting that will likely take place in November. If passed, these laws would make The Last Frontier one of the first states to successfully regulate cannabis use in retail shops.

State regulators originally passed an amendment permitting on-site cannabis consumption in 2015, but the rule drafting process was abandoned the following year over public concerns about secondhand smoke. In March, the council decided to go back to the drawing board, and the rework seems to have garnered their favor.

Alaska Marijuana Control Board member Brandon Emmett offered arguments in support of the proposal, stating that tourists who come to Alaska and buy cannabis have nowhere to legally smoke it. He also alluded to Anchorage Assembly’s recent resolution calling for state marijuana regulators to legalize in-store use.

In addition to the newly approved regulations, the board has also amended the rules for licensing background checks, changing the required renewal date from every year to every three years. The Alaskan cannabis industry also got a series boost, as 26 new business licenses were issued to cultivators, retailers, as well as a testing facility.

Just like many cigar stores
Alaska Regulators to Hear Comments on Onsite Pot Use

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — State regulators plan to take comment through Oct. 27 on a proposal that would allow authorized retail marijuana shops in Alaska to provide a place for people to consume cannabis products they buy.

Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board has gone back and forth on the onsite consumption issue.

But it agreed last month to once again advance for comment draft rules for allowing onsite use. The formal notice of the proposed rules and the comment period came out this week.

The draft rules would give local governments the right to protest a store’s application for onsite use.
This is real simple, get out and vote.

56.5 percent of the Fairbanks North Star Borough voted to legalize marijuana
The city of Fairbanks voted in the range of 50 to 55 percent in favor of the measure.

But Jim Ostlind, of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, and former City Councilwoman Vivian Stiver, just think they know better.

Voters in Fairbanks, Alaska asked to decide if weed sales will continue
Proposition A outlaws commercial marijuana businesses in the city

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Cannabis opponents and advocates in the city of Fairbanks and the Fairbanks North Star Borough are working to push voter turnout as voters soon will decide the legality of marijuana sales in the area.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports two initiatives will appear Oct. 3 on the municipal election ballot. Proposition A outlaws commercial marijuana businesses in the city, while Proposition 1 outlaws them in the borough.

Related stories
Since Alaska voters legalized commercial marijuana growing and retail statewide in 2014, Fairbanks has become one of Alaska’s more cannabis-friendly communities, with more than a dozen active growers in the area and more on the way.

But Jim Ostlind, of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, and former City Councilwoman Vivian Stiver launched successful campaigns to put referendums on city and borough ballots.

With more cultivators coming online, Alaska's marijuana industry hits new tax highs

Marijuana tax revenues continue to break state records, with projections for the month of July expected to yield the most money from cannabis cultivators to date.

According to the Alaska Department of Revenue, the state anticipates collecting around $571,000 for July, bringing the tax total since legalization to more than $2.3 million.

Six new cultivators came online in July, a gradual trend that’s driving a growing tax base.

“The process is taking a lot longer [than expected,]” said cultivation director for The Frost Frontier Evan Schlosberg, whose cannabis grow operation is one of the many in the industry that’s been working months behind the scenes just to get to the starting line.

Schlosberg celebrated his first sale on Tuesday, reaching a deal with a marijuana retail shop in Spenard. He said despite the high demand for cannabis in the state, it's been a bumpy road for himself, and many other Anchorage cultivators, to make it to market.

“As you navigate these problems, the solutions are months away,” explained Schlosberg, saying there’s a learning curve to opening a new agriculture-based business.

On Wednesday, the Anchorage Assembly renewed the licenses of a number of cultivation and retail facilities, including The Frost Frontier, without issue. The process of getting the industry to meet consumer demand, although slow, received high marks and continued support from assembly members during the meeting.

“I am very pleased with how responsible the industry has been,” said assembly member Tim Steele, echoing the praise of assembly member Eric Croft.

It’s been more than a year since the first cultivation license was presented by the municipality, and still only about a dozen growing facilities are listed as active and operating in Anchorage.

Alaska's marijuana market is a work in progress, with the Alaska Department of Revenue saying it will continue to grow in the coming year.

For Schlosberg, he said after months of stress, it comes as some relief that his business is finding its footing.

“I'm excited to have my work out there, people will be able to try it and consume five years of my life's work,” said Schlosberg.

But still he worries, unless he can continue to provide marijuana to retail shops at a rapid pace, his marijuana facility may be buried under fees, taxes and bills.
This is easy....do like its being advocated in MA, if you don't have the MJ businesses in your political district, then you don't get any of the tax money that derives thereof. Watch those assholes back up then.

Legal Cannabis at Risk in Alaska

On Oct. 3, voters in Fairbanks, Alaska and two neighboring boroughs will be asked to decide the fate of the legalized cannabis market — and their decision could change the entire state’s marijuana landscape.

Alaska became the third U.S. state to end the prohibition of marijuana on Nov. 4, 2014 with the passage of Ballot Measure 2. And while the argument for or against legal marijuana typically occurs long before any such legalization takes place, nearly 200,000 residents of Fairbanks, the Fairbanks North Star Borough, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough find themselves embroiled in that very debate all over again.

When marijuana was legalized in 2014, the legislation left open the possibility for cities and municipalities to ban marijuana-related businesses “through the enactment of an ordinance or by a voter initiative.” The local option laws do, however, prevent the local government from banning the possession or personal use of cannabis.

In the City of Fairbanks, voters will be tasked with making a decision on Proposition A, which aims to ban all cannabis companies from conducting business within city limits. A renewed prohibition on the cannabis market in Fairbanks would mean that all “marijuana establishments” would have to close their doors for good. Voters living in the North Star Borough of Fairbanks will decide on Proposition 1, which bears very similar language to Proposition A. The Kenai Peninsula Borough will vote on a separate Proposition A that, like the others, aims to ban all cannabis commerce in the borough.

According to the propositions, the following businesses would be included in the ban should the new bills pass:

  • a retail marijuana store, an entity that sells marijuana and marijuana products to consumers;
  • a marijuana cultivation facility, an entity that cultivates, prepares, and packages marijuana and sells marijuana to other marijuana establishments, but not to consumers;
  • a marijuana product manufacturing facility, an entity that purchases, manufactures, and prepares marijuana products and sells marijuana and marijuana products to other marijuana establishments, but not to consumers; and
  • a marijuana testing facility, an entity that analyzes and certifies the safety and potency of marijuana.
Marijuana.com spoke with an industry association leader, the manager of a family medical practice that has incorporated medical marijuana into their practice, and two cannabis company executives to gauge how this vote will affect each facet of the cannabis industry.

Marijuana.com (MJ): Why do people want to ban marijuana businesses in Fairbanks?

Greg Allison, director of operations, GOOD Alaska Cannabis: There hasn’t been any specific issues or instances that would justify a repeal. All of the information put out by the opposition is based on misinformation and fear mongering … The entire campaign for a repeal is based around making neighborhoods in Fairbanks safer, but what is safer than removing the black market from a community? If they were educated on the matter, they would understand that the safest plan is regulation.

Keenan Hollister, owner, Pakalolo Supply Co.: The legalization bill from 2014 did leave open the option for local control, meaning local governments have the option to ban marijuana businesses. Most of the local lawmakers are very much on our side, but there are some who remain active prohibitionists.

Cary Carrigan, executive director, Alaska Marijuana Industry Association: Fear. They’re scared of marijuana, they’re scared of crime, they’re scared of what they think it does to you. If we can stop all three of these measures, we can make people stop and think before they come at us again. It’s critical that we get all three. We want to be sure there is no prohibition.

MJ: How will a repeal of legalization in the Fairbanks area affect the marijuana landscape throughout the rest of the state?

Greg Allison: This is much bigger than us or any single marijuana business in the Fairbanks area. It would be devastating. There would be a trickle down effect felt throughout the whole state because we know from tax revenue data that roughly 50 percent of the state’s marijuana is grown in Fairbanks. Because of the high demand, we want more growers in Fairbanks and the Kenai Peninsula, etc, not less. It would devastate the pricing, as we already have difficulty getting product to some areas. It would be heartbreaking for so many people that rely on this industry.

Keenan Hollister: About 60 percent of the weed that’s been in the market in the first year has been grown in this borough. So, while there are new growers popping up statewide, a disproportionate chunk would be eliminated, as 20 plus grow operations would be forced to move or shut down.

Nicholas Braman, business manager, Brück Clift MD, LLC: The biggest effect it will have is raising prices on marijuana because there is a whole lot of growers in the Fairbanks area, and if they get shut down, we’ll be left with far fewer growers. We’ve seen prices dropping the way you’d expect, from well above $20 per gram to the teens, but shutting down the Fairbanks market would send prices right back over $25.

Cary Carrigan: We look at this as the opposition’s means to an end. We think people who are against this — and there is a small percentage of the population that is dedicated to eradicating marijuana because they still believe old propaganda — could start becoming emboldened by the fact that somebody passed it in Fairbanks, “so we’re going to do it here, too.” We’re working hard to prevent that, which is why we put so much effort, so much money, and so much manpower into these campaigns.

MJ: If the repeal does pass, what does that mean for the Fairbanks area?

Cary Carrigan: They’re operating from a fear-based mentality and think that repealing legalization will revert everything back to the way things were before. Well, the way it was, there was a guy in your neighborhood who was growing marijuana in his basement right next door. You didn’t know it. He was selling it to some guy who would go around and he didn’t care about who he sold it to as long he sold it. He’d be selling it in bars, he’d be selling it in high school parking lots, he’d be selling it in the alleys behind stores. It doesn’t need to be that way. People need to understand that the black market is going to flourish once again in the absence of a regulated market.

Keenan Hollister: The impact on the local community would be to the tune of hundreds of jobs and hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax revenue. Then there’s all of the ancillary businesses that have popped up in the wake of legalization. Aside from those, a half-million dollars has already been paid from the cannabis industry into the local electrical co-op. That amount of electricity being purchased by the cannabis industry lowers rates for all of the other members of the co-op.

Cary Carrigan: We’re putting money into the state coffers, we’ve done everything we said we would do as an industry. They’re so anti-cannabis, they will bite off their nose to spite their face.

MJ: How many people would find themselves without work in the event of a repeal?

Greg Allison: Over 300 in Fairbanks alone, easily. Our organization employs just over 20 people and we’re growing daily. We just hired four new people the other day and I have more interviews scheduled in the next few days, so we may have close to 30 people working for us soon. I know a few other organizations pushing around 30 people, too, so the 300 estimate may be really low. A significant amount of people would definitely lose their job and sustainability.

Keenan Hollister: We have 17 employees on our staff and there are over 30 businesses in the area. We’re talking about hundreds of jobs in the legalized marker, and that doesn’t even include any of the ancillary businesses that will be greatly affected like garden supply stores and trimming services within Fairbanks. There are hundreds of jobs at stake and there are a lot of families in the area that are very financially invested in this market.

MJ: As far as medical patients and consumers go, how many people would be left without a legal solution for securing the cannabis they need?

Nicholas Braman: In the event of a repeal, medical marijuana patients in the Fairbanks area will be forced to grow their own medicine or travel to an area of the state that has legalized the sale of cannabis. It is real medicine for some people, especially these CBD products, and these patients aren’t trying to secure cannabis to get high. They are trying to buy marijuana because it has real beneficial health effects. It is something that should absolutely be on the market here.

Greg Allison: Countless people. Hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of people would go without their medicine in Fairbanks. The problem is, what will those people turn to without a viable solution to find cannabis. Do they go back to using pills? We hear a lot of people tell us they don’t really drink alcohol anymore after legalization because cannabis is better for their body. They don’t want to have to track down a black market drug dealer to get their marijuana, though. They want to know the strain history of what they are buying, they want to know lab test results. A repeal would take a completely regulated industry and hand it right back to the black market.

Keenan Hollister: We see hundreds of customers on a daily basis that either want or need legal cannabis. The medical system in Alaska is set up as home grow only, so without recreational sales, these people will have no local access to dispensaries. It is obviously quite cumbersome to tell a patient who has already had easy direct access to their medicine that they now have to obtain seeds somehow, plus acquire and setup all of the necessary equipment to grow at home.

MJ: Why is legalization good for Fairbanks?

Greg Allison: The cannabis industry in Fairbanks has really come together to show support to the community, which has been phenomenal. Each one of these business owners here in Fairbanks meets monthly as part of the Alaskan Marijuana Industry Association, so there’s also a great camaraderie between us as well. We knew we were going to have to come together to be a positive influence in the community, so we do events like a food drive last December where we collected over 750 pounds of food to donate to the North Pole chapter of St. Jude’s.

We held a clothing drive for the Fairbanks Women’s Shelter in January and donated over 40 hours of community service to the local soup kitchen in February. In April, we held the first annual Fairbanks Community Cannabis Conference, where all the proceeds went back to the Fairbanks Food Bank and we welcomed members of the community to come and meet various faces of the industry. We have taken a very engaged philosophy to be a part of our community.

Cary Carrigan: If there’s a black market in the community, do you think those people are going to want to be Rotarians? We continually try to help the community and be good stewards of this legal cannabis industry.

As the City of Fairbanks, the Kenai Peninsula Borough, and North Star Borough head to the polls tomorrow to decide the future of cannabis businesses in their area, it’s important that anyone and everyone registered to vote on one of the three propositions exercise their right to do so. Regardless of your stance on marijuana, it cannot be denied the bountiful plant provides not only life-saving therapeutic benefits to many but hordes of cold, hard tax revenue for a state with a general fund that, in January, clocked in at 80 percent, or $400,000, below its typical balance from previous years.

The only way to show that a majority of Alaskans really do support the legalization movement is for a majority of those Alaskans to show up and vote Tuesday.
Nice to see the people....the actual electorate....tell anti-MJ activists to pound sand. Couple of telling lines in this story:

"Both measures were rejected by about 70 percent of voters." Not a close vote at all

“A lot of these prohibition votes have been driven by church congregations” No need for me to comment on this, its speaks for itself.

Alaska voters reject local bans on legalized marijuana

By Mark Thiessen | AP October 4 at 2:45 AM
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Voters in some parts of Alaska rejected efforts to ban commercial marijuana cultivation and retail sales, three years after the nation’s largest state passed a voter initiative legalizing the recreational use of the drug.

The votes Tuesday came during local elections in the state’s major marijuana growing areas — in and around Fairbanks and on the Kenai Peninsula southwest of Anchorage. All lost by wide margins.

“I’m happy to know that the 100 plus employees that are employed right now are going to keep their jobs, and there’s going to be many more jobs on top of that,” said Amy Jackman, campaign manager for ‘Keep Cannabis Legal’ on the Kenai Peninsula, where the ban was rejected by roughly 64 percent of voters. “And all these families down here, they’re not going to lose their savings and their livelihoods.”

The 2014 statewide initiative that legalized marijuana allows local governments to ban pot businesses within their borders.

“We’re disappointed, but at the same time our purpose for these initiatives on the ballot was to give the voters a chance to make this decision and not have it made by our local government. So in that sense, it’s a success,” said James Ostlind, chairman of the group that backed the bans with separate measures in the city of Fairbanks and the surrounding Fairbanks North Star Borough. Both measures were rejected by about 70 percent of voters.

If the bans had been successful, they would have forced retail stores and cultivation facilities to close within 90 days and that would have left a gaping hole for other retail stores across the state in need of product. Personal use and growing pot at home for that use would still be allowed.

Backers said zoning laws are too lax, letting marijuana businesses open too close to homes. Proponents fear any rollbacks will embolden other communities to institute bans or the Legislature to roll back legalization.

But Jackman said the overwhelming victory in support of the marijuana industry “encourages people to move on to something else.”

Cary Carrigan, the executive director of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, called the victories pivotal.

“A lot of these prohibition votes have been driven by church congregations,” he said “They’re looking for something to demonize, and it’s not us. People accept us.”

After a failed initiative, there’s a two year hiatus before it can come back, Ostlind said. He wasn’t ready to predict another initiative attempt in 2019.

“If the marijuana industry starts to cause more damage to a community than they do good, then people will stand up and they’ll want to do something about it,” he said.

The election was held the same day the Alaska Department of Revenue released its monthly marijuana tax receipts from cultivators. The state collected nearly $700,000 in August, which was the highest monthly amount since collections began last October. Ten new cultivators began paying taxes in August, and half are from areas where votes were being held Tuesday.

Since October 2016, cultivators in the greater Fairbanks area have paid nearly $1.2 million in taxes, while those on the Kenai Peninsula have paid more than $655,000. The state doesn’t have tax figures for retails stores since those taxes are paid to local governments only.
This is the same as in MD's MMJ program. No sales tax, but there is a $50/oz excise tax levied on the cultivator. As prices come down with competition and greater supply, the tax rate will increase with no limit. I expect this to be revisited in the future, along with home grow.

Wholesale marijuana taxes frustrate Alaska growers

Taxes on wholesale marijuana are frustrating Alaska cannabis growers.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports some Alaska growers are calling for a reform, as the cannabis supply in the state increases and wholesale prices decline.

The drop in wholesale prices is good for consumers because the retail price of marijuana also is dropping. But some retailers say prices in general have gone from $20 or more per gram to about $18 per gram.

The tax on marijuana sold to retailers by the growers remains $50 per ounce. That's $800 per pound for marijuana bud and $260 per pound for the rest of the plant.

Alaska Marijuana Industry Association spokesman Cary Carrigan says the association is discussing the tax, but association leaders want to see the state tax tied to market conditions.
Well, these folks fucked up big time....but "Frozen Budz was selling edibles that exceeded the 5 milligram per serving THC limit set in Alaska law."
5 mg!! That's it? So, do you need to eat like a whole box of cookies to get medicated? Half a dozen brownies might do it at 30 mg total....but maybe not. Wow.

Fairbanks cannabis edibles maker has license revoked, fined $500,000

Frozen Budz, a Fairbanks-based marijuana edibles company, had its manufacturing license revoked Friday morning after the state board that oversees Alaska cannabis found the company sold tens of thousands of products that had not been tested, were moldy and had been made with untracked marijuana.

On Friday, the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office said in a written statement that it revoked Frozen Budz's manufacturing license and fined the company $500,000. The Marijuana Control Board upheld nine accusations against the company.

"The board found the acts of this licensee especially egregious," board chair Peter Mlynarik said in the statement. "The licensee disregarded marijuana industry regulations and put the public at significant risk by selling products that were not safe, tested, or tracked."

The board found that Frozen Budz had regularly sold pot-infused edibles — products like brownies, chai tea and banana bread — that had not been tested for potency, mold or other contaminants. The company made edibles without tracking the source of the marijuana, as required under state law, and made products that had not been approved by the board.

The company sold products that were moldy and contained amounts of THC two to three times higher than the limit, the board found. It also sold products directly to consumers, which is not allowed under Alaska cannabis rules, allowed "onsite consumption" and did not label its products properly, the statement said.

Co-owner Destiny Neade wrote in a text message that they were working on their options to appeal the decision. She previously said that the company had tested its products.

Interviews with three former Frozen Budz employees were among the evidence presented to the board.

Two of the former employees told investigators that the owners and other employees would routinely smoke marijuana and eat edibles on the site premises. Employees were also given free edibles, the employees said.

Once, an employee opened a bag of moldy marijuana, but was told by Neade to use it anyway to make edibles, investigators were told.

Another time, a batch of cannabis cookies came back with THC tests that were far too high, so Neade sold them in a "flash sale" at their store, another former employee said.

In another incident, Neade's mother-in-law used product from the store to make "marijuana truffle penis sculptures," investigators were told. The woman "spent the whole day on the premises making the sculptures and she took all of them with her," an employee said.

With its manufacturing license revoked, Frozen Budz will no longer be able to make and sell edibles to cannabis stores. The company still has a retail marijuana shop that operates under a separate license in an industrial part of Fairbanks.

But Frozen Budz's store is also facing separate accusations, according to Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office director Erika McConnell. McConnell alleges that the store knowingly sold marijuana products that had not been tested, and that they falsified records by selling more products than what was noted in each package, and then tweaking the computer inventory. The company sold around 13,000 edibles that were never tracked, according to a memo from McConnell to the board.

Frozen Budz has 15 days to request a hearing before the board, after which the board can act on the accusations, McConnell wrote in an email.

On Dec. 1, the company's manufacturing license was suspended as the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office investigated a tip that Frozen Budz was selling edibles that exceeded the 5 milligram per serving THC limit set in Alaska law.

That investigation "kind of opened up this entire can of worms," McConnell, said at the time.

On Tuesday, a second release from the office said that the company sold more than 114,000 untested edibles, and that the board was reviewing accusations against the company.
NOW Wells Fargo is worried about conforming to laws. What about when they were slamming people into accounts they didn't know about in order to collect fees? Hmmmm. Wells Fargo new catch line: "we always take the low road"

Wells Fargo forces closure of Alaska marijuana lab, only 2 remaining in state

One of Alaska’s three marijuana testing labs has been shut down by Wells Fargo bank, leaving the state’s growers with only two options for state-mandated testing.

In a social media post Thursday morning, testing lab Steep Hill of Anchorage declared, “We are sorry to announce that Steep Hill Alaska will be suspending cannabis testing operations on March 31, 2018.

We have to relocate because Wells Fargo called in the loan on our building. They will foreclose if we do not move out — just because we are a cannabis business!”

Brian Kennedy, a spokesman for Wells Fargo in Alaska, said by email, “It is currently Wells Fargo’s policy not to knowingly bank marijuana businesses, based on federal laws under which the sale and use of marijuana is still illegal.”

Alaska regulations require marijuana sold in the state to be tested for potency and contaminants. With Steep Hill’s closure, Anchorage-based CannTest and Wasilla-based New Frontier Research remain available for that required testing.

Brandon Emmett is a member of Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board from Fairbanks and chairs the subcommittee devoted to testing issues. By phone, he said the wider effects of Steep Hill’s closure will be limited because CannTest alone has the capacity to handle both business’ work.

“The businesses that use Steep Hill are going to be inconvenienced … obviously Steep Hill is going to be extremely inconvenienced, but as far as the industry as a whole is concerned, I don’t think it will be a major issue,” Emmett said.

A CannTest representative confirmed that its lab has enough capacity to handle state demand. New Frontier Research said by email that it has not held its grand opening — its license was finalized March 14 — but it has received numerous calls this week and is accepting samples for testing.

Steep Hill CEO Brian Coyle said his lab’s closure is the end result of months of conflict. That conflict was caused by federal banking regulations that prevent banks from dealing with marijuana businesses.

“To me, Wells Fargo is the real bad guy here. They could give a s—- about Alaska. Only 700,000 people in Alaska; that’s less than the city of San Francisco,” he said by phone on Friday morning.

“We need to hold their feet to the fire. If they’re going to be doing business in Alaska, they should be following Alaska’s state laws.”

Steep Hill rents office space in Anchorage and was informed by its landlord late last year that Wells Fargo — which holds a loan on the building — was preparing to call the loan because it had learned that Steep Hill was a marijuana business.

The landlord, rescue and survival trainer Brian Horner, attempted to find a different bank or credit union to assume the loan, but he could not. Horner did not return phone calls from the Empire on Friday; this account of events was provided by Coyle.

He turned to third parties and reached an agreement with a non-bank investor, but the title company refused to switch the title to the building, again because it housed a marijuana business.

That left Horner with no choice but to evict Steep Hill.

On the same day Steep Hill shared news of its impending eviction, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, joined other U.S. Senators in urging U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho and chairman of the Senate banking committee, to hold a hearing on a bill that would allow banks to handle marijuana business.

For states like Alaska that have legalized marijuana, it’s important for law-abiding businesses to have access to safe financial services instead of forcing them to operate in all-cash, increasing a risk of crime and threatening public safety.

— Sen. Lisa Murkowski (@lisamurkowski) March 30, 2018

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, is a cosponsor of that bill, and in the U.S. House, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, is a member of the “cannabis caucus” that has encouraged banking reforms.

The issues involving CannTest are the latest to afflict marijuana testing in Alaska. Late last year, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board warned consumers that existing testing procedures were delivering wildly different results.

In the wake of that revelation, the board created the testing subcommittee, which was charged with reducing the testing variations. That work is ongoing.

Alaska proposes changes in taxing parts of marijuana plant

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state of Alaska is proposing changes to the way it taxes parts of the marijuana plant, a move intended to address enforcement and industry concerns.

The current tax is $50 an ounce for any part of the bud and flower and $15 an ounce for the rest of the plant. The tax, paid by growers, is imposed when marijuana is sold or transferred from a growing facility to a retail store or product manufacturing facility.

The Department of Revenue is proposing new bud categories. It proposes taxing mature bud at $50 an ounce and immature or abnormal buds at $25 an ounce. The remainder of the plant would remain taxed at $15 an ounce.

The department is taking public comments on the proposed changes until Aug. 10.
Alaska regulators approve rules for onsite marijuana use

Alaska regulators on Thursday approved rules for onsite consumption of marijuana at specially designated shops, a significant step for the cannabis industry in the state after years of debate.

The 3-2 vote by the Marijuana Control Board does not mean people can light up at shops 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.

“It’s not like people are going to be opening these up in the next week,” said Cary Carrigan, the executive director of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association. Carrigan nonetheless called the vote significant and a positive step.

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

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 Marijuana Control Board has gone back and forth on the issue since passing regulations in 2015 that contemplated allowing for onsite consumption in designated areas of authorized retail marijuana stores. However, it wasn’t until Thursday that the board adopted rules for how onsite use would work.

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.

Industry representatives supported the onsite use proposal, with some seeing it as a way to give tourists a place to partake. But the proposal got pushback from public health advocates, including the state health commissioner and anti-smoking activists.

The board’s two industry representatives, Brandon Emmett and Nicholas Miller, supported the proposal, as did Sitka Police Chief Jeff Ankerfelt, who holds the public safety seat.

Loren Jones, who has the board’s public health seat, said advancing the rules would be a mistake. He said there are too many unknowns and suggested the board was overstepping.

Board Chairman Mark Springer, who with Jones voted “no,” said the Legislature still could weigh in on the issue. He said he sees onsite use benefiting a relatively small number of retail businesses.
"Gov. Mike Dunleavy has again shown a lack of regard for the will of Alaskan voters,” stated an AMIA’s press release"

Marijuana industry thinks governor trying to undo legalization in Alaska
Call for governor to declare his position on legalized pot

The marijuana industry is not happy with Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

Alaskans voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2014, but the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association thinks the governor is trying to undo that through his legislation and appointments.

“Under the guise of rolling back a controversial criminal justice bill, Gov. Mike Dunleavy has again shown a lack of regard for the will of Alaskan voters,” stated an AMIA’s press release.

The association said Senate Bill 32, one of the governor’s four proposed crime bills, includes language that would make it a felony to possess 25 or more cannabis plants or various amounts of scheduled VIA drugs (including marijuana concentrates). They said there are no exemptions in the current text of the bill for legal marijuana businesses, leaving small cannabis business owners fearful of what comes next.

“In SB 32 they’re trying to take possession of a small amount of marijuana,” said AMIA Executive Director Cary Carrigan in an interview with the Empire. “I don’t know how they’re going to determine if something is what you bought or something that is illegal.”

AMIA leaders are calling for clarity in the language of the bill that it will not affect licensed operations.

“If this was unintentional, we expect a quick fix from the Dunleavy administration,” said Carrigan in a press release. “Gov. Dunleavy has long aligned himself with the concept of states’ rights yet seems to make an exception when it comes to marijuana.”

The association’s press release said the AMIA is looking into the potential legal issue this bill might cause if the language is not amended to clarify exemption for licensed operations.

“We are looking into the potential legal issue of undoing the people’s vote through legislation and any constitutional implications that may arise,” said Lacy Wilcox, legislative liaison for the AMIA in the press release. “I hope that the Department of Law can work with the Legislature to amend the bill to include specific language that removes ambiguity for law enforcement and alleviates the fears that have arisen in the industry.”

The governor’s appointment of Vivian Stiver to the Marijuana Control board also caused an uproar in the industry.

“We didn’t think he was going to be an enemy to the industry,” Brandon Emmett told the Empire in previous reports. Emmett is the current seatholder whom Stiver would take over for should her nomination be confirmed.

[Dunleavy picks shake up board regulating marijuana]

Stiver has a history of speaking against marijuana legalization. She was involved in a failed 2017 effort to ban marijuana operations in Fairbanks. The Fairbanks area has become a prominent growing region for the legal industry.

The Senate Labor and Commerce committee heard testimonies about her appointment on Tuesday. Carrigan said there were 61 people who testified, 54 of them who spoke against her nomination.

“The fact that Vivian even got this far is bad,” Carrigan said. “If the support is out there for that person you know it, they’re going to show up. We can’t go to a place where it slows the industry down so much that we start losing revenue, losing jobs. If someone puts the brakes on [the industry] that’s going to create a problem where the black market will start to fill back in.”

He said that people at the meeting who testified against her also offered up four to five other names of people who would be more suitable for the position.

“There’s this undercurrent of trying to push back the marijuana industry,” Carrigan said in an interview with the Empire. “But look at the votes. They go 70-30. People want [pot] here. So I just don’t understand.

Dunleavy crime bill may need exemption to keep recreational marijuana industry legal

JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) — The Alaska recreational marijuana industry could be put in legal jeopardy by one of the governor’s proposed crime bills unless clarifying language is added to the legislation, according to a legal review obtained by KTUU.

Senate Bill 32 returns sentencing ranges to pre-Senate Bill 91 levels and makes it a felony to possess certain drugs. The legislation states that a person would commit a Class C felony if they possess “25 or more plants of the genus cannabis” or more than four ounces of marijuana with an intent to “manufacture or deliver.”

Deputy Attorney General Robert Henderson appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday to state that the legislation was not written to target the legal Alaska marijuana industry.

"We believe that, should this issue come before the court, the court will read the provisions harmoniously, so as to prevent either statute from being invalidated," read a statement from Henderson.

According to advice from the Division of Legal and Research Services, a court construes legislation as written and a judge could interpret the language of Senate Bill 32 as superseding earlier legislation that set up the legal marijuana industry in Alaska.

"When a court construes a statute, the 'court presumes that the legislature intended every word, sentence, or provision of a statute to have some purpose, force, and effect, and that no words or provisions are superfluous,'" the legal review reads. “The Alaska Supreme Court has also held that “if two statutes conflict then the later in time controls over the earlier.””

Alaska Marijuana Industry Association Executive Director Cary Carrigan called into the Senate Judiciary Committee during public testimony Saturday, asking lawmakers to write an exemption for the legal marijuana industry and the industrial hemp industry to ensure there isn’t a problem.

“If this was unintentional, we expect a quick fix from the Dunleavy administration,” Carrigan said in a statement Monday evening, calling for a solution that leaves no ambiguity about the legal status of the industry. "We call on the governor to correct SB 32 and make clear his position on the legal marijuana industry."

The call for clarity is shared by the Division of Legal and Research Services: “In order to avoid this conflict, I would recommend specifically exempting marijuana establishments authorized under AS 17:38.070 from the changes in sec.11:71:040 (a)(3)(G).”

Assistant Attorney General Kaci Schroeder spoke to the committee on Saturday and stated the department's position that the legislation should be read “harmoniously” and that the new bill should not invalidate AS 17:38.070, the legislation regarding Alaska’s recreational marijuana industry.

However, Schoeder said that clarifying language could be added to SB 32 and that the administration welcomed additions from the committee.
It’s official: Alaska adopts rules for on-site marijuana consumption at retail shops

Alaska is set to be the first state with laws on the books regulating marijuana use in retail cannabis shops.

Alaska Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer on Tuesday signed off on new regulations that allow on-site cannabis use in retail marijuana shops. The rules go into effect April 11. That’s when freestanding stores can start to apply for endorsements from the state to allow customers to consume cannabis on their premises.

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board approved the regulations in December, but they still had to be reviewed by the state Department of Law and signed by Meyer before they could go into effect.

Meyer’s sign-off comes after years of back-and-forth by state regulators on whether Alaska’s cannabis shops should be allowed to let people use their products on-site.

“The big news is, the suspense is over,” said Mark Springer, chair of the Alaska Marijuana Control Board. “I’m sure there is a lot of excitement in the industry today.”

Mid-July could be the earliest that an on-site consumption facility might open, Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office director Erika McConnell said in an email.

Per the new rules, the area where customers will be able to consume their cannabis has to be separate from other parts of the store. There has to be a ventilation system, and there has to be a smoke-free area for employees to monitor the consumption area. People also won’t be allowed to bring marijuana from elsewhere into a store’s consumption area.

There are still hurdles that businesses will likely face in getting on-site consumption up and running. Those include workplace smoking bans and the investment it might take to comply with regulations, Springer said.

There are cities in the Lower 48 that have laws for consuming cannabis in designated spaces, but Alaska is the first to have statewide regulations for on-site consumption at retail shops, according to McConnell and others in the state’s marijuana industry.

California law “allows local jurisdictions to authorize the on-site consumption of cannabis by state-licensed retailers,” according to the cannabis blog of law firm Harris Bricken. Most local governments in California have “explicitly prohibited” on-site consumption and cannabis lounges, according to that blog.

Per Alaska’s new rules, local governments here will have the option to prohibit endorsements for on-site consumption.

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board has heard public arguments from opponents and supporters of on-site consumption stretching back to 2015.

“I was really glad everybody got a chance to say what they wanted to say,” said Cary Carrigan, executive director of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association. “It was pretty drawn out.”

He’s excited about what the new rules could mean for tourism. Since smoking marijuana isn’t allowed in public in Alaska, tourists who want to use cannabis have had few options for where to do so legally.

“I think it’s going to be huge for us in that regard,” Carrigan said. “I think people are going to realize we’re open for business for tourists.”
So, before reading this, note the post two above contains the quote ""Gov. Mike Dunleavy has again shown a lack of regard for the will of Alaskan voters,” stated an AMIA’s press release"

Yes, another self-annointed guardian of our morals and health....who seems to not care about what his electorate clearly voted for. So, I LOVE the title of the following article.

Legislature rejects controversial marijuana board nominee by one vote

The Alaska Legislature rejected by a single-vote margin well known anti-cannabis activist Vivian Stiver of Fairbanks to the Alaska Marijuana Control Board during a joint confirmation hearing Wednesday.

Even though Stiver received 30 votes in favor and 29 votes against, the Alaska Constitution states that an appointment must be confirmed by a majority of the Legislature, meaning that even though Rep. Mark Neuman, R-Big Lake, was excused from the session, a majority of the 60-member body is still required to confirm a nomination.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy appointed Stiver to the board at the end of January.

Stiver's appointment has been one of heated controversy, with public testimony largely opposing the former Fairbanks City Council member.

The original nomination sparked outrage from the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association and cannabis advocates across the state who worried that Stiver would work to stifle the industry. Those opposing Stiver called her a "prohibitionist" during committee hearings and urged legislators to reject the nomination.

Cary Carrigan, executive direction of the association, posted a statement to the association's website thanking supporters of the industry for testifying against the nomination.

"This was a huge day for the AMIA and the people who are working hard for your right to succeed in this Industry. We still have work ahead of us, but for now we can bask in the fact that we worked a really difficult dynamic, TOGETHER, and all the work paid off," Carrigan wrote.

Stiver has long been a vocal activist against the legalization of marijuana in Alaska, chairing the anti-retail coalition Safe Neighborhoods Fairbanks and launching a Fairbanks ballot proposition in 2017 that would have banned any commercial cannabis activity within city limits. The measure failed.

Discussion varied during the confirmation hearing Wednesday with members like Fairbanks Democratic Reps. Grier Hopkins and Adam Wool urging the Legislature to reject Stiver based on her anti-marijuana views and past activism while others such as Republican Reps. Bart LeBon of Fairbanks and Tammie Wilson of North Pole spoke in favor.

Hopkins noted the job of someone on this board is to "regulate the industry, not to put the brakes on a growing industry."

LeBon identified past interactions with Stiver during his banking days, noting her professional manner and good credit standing.

Wilson spoke in strong support of Stiver's nomination.

"I'm really tired of the fight that she's not an industry person. So what?" Wilson said. "She's been to the shops, she's been to the growers, she's trying to learn what's out there while at the same time listening to those who are not part of industry. That's what you are supposed to do."

Wool said he felt that there should be two industry seats on the board and that the board lacked balance.

When asked about the vote against her nomination Wednesday evening, Stiver simply expressed gratitude.

"I would like to thank those who spoke such kind words in favor of my nomination and thank the governor for the opportunity," Stiver said in a phone call with the Daily News-Miner.

Stiver was one of two Dunleavy appointees to the marijuana board, the other being Lt. Christopher Jaime, an Alaska Wildlife Trooper from Soldotna, to fill the public safety seat. Jaime was confirmed Wednesday.

Stiver would have filled a general public seat but would replace former board member and industry official Brandon Emmett, who said he was removed from the board by Dunleavy in January. Emmett held one of the two industry seats at the time.

The law creating the Marijuana Control Board designated that the board would be made up of five seats representing public safety, health, rural Alaska, industry and that the final seat could either be held by a second industry representative or by a member of the general public. Up until this point the board had two industry officials. Now the board will have one industry representative and one member of the general public.

With Stiver's rejection, Dunleavy will be tasked with putting forward a new appointment for the empty seat.
All cannabis delivery is illegal: Alaska

Delivering cannabis to an unknown address, or involved in a free giveaway online? It’s a drug deal.

The special provincial constable for alcohol and cannabis for the Peace region says the delivery of cannabis is against the law – and anyone doing it may be charged under the Criminal Code.

“No cannabis can be delivered by anyone – it is that simple,” says Lorie Barrette, cannabis inspector and special provincial constable. Barrette notes just as minors are not allowed into BC cannabis stores, all stores must ensure legal age verification takes place before consumption of their product. If stores know their product is being delivered or dropped off anonymous persons, or to unknown addresses - age verification isn’t happening.

Barrette notes a concern if people think COVID-19 allows the public and/or legal dealers to part in cannabis gifting or delivering of the products on social media.
“You must be 19 years or older to purchase, and it is illegal to purchase cannabis for minors. Since stores cannot guarantee who the product is for, they cannot sell to someone or offer to deliver it themselves.”

The Cannabis Act has a pair of criminal offences, with maximum penalties of 14 years in jail for giving or selling cannabis to minors, or using a minor to commit a cannabis-related offence.

Barrette says it’s key to purchase cannabis from a legal source such as a licensed store, a BC Cannabis Store, the online BC Cannabis Stores website, or through the federal medical cannabis system.

“If you are delivering cannabis for free to any address (whether you know them or not), you are dealing drugs.”

Barrette notes cannabis products from licensed producers are regulated to ensure they are fit for human consumption including mandatory testing. Stores allowing their product to be delivered are running risks – from having their products paired with illegal products, to having the product delivered to a home with minors answers the door.
“If people are delivering, that is an issue," Barrette says adding restaurants are allowed to deliver liquor or allow take-out of it with food service since late March after COVID-19 hit.

Alaska: Regulatory Change Permits for Greater THC Levels in Edible Products​

Juneau, AK: Regulatory changes set to take effect on September 1, 2021 will allow adult-use cannabis retailers and manufacturers to provide edible products containing elevated quantities of THC.
The new rules raise the amount of THC permissible in a single serving of an adult-use edible product from 5mg of THC to 10mg. Multi-serving products will be permitted to contain up to 100mgs of THC – twice the amount previously permitted under the law. The regulatory changes were codified on August 2.
The rule change comes at a time when lawmakers in a handful of states have recently debated imposing new rules lowering the amount of THC permissible in certain products. Specifically, recently passed legislation in Colorado reduced the quantity of THC concentrates that younger patients may purchase in a single day, and called on public health officials to consider making further recommendations regarding the availability of higher-potency THC products.

Alaska Supreme Court Orders Marijuana Records To Be Removed From Conviction Database

“Given that [marijuana] has been legal for eight years, it appeared to the Supreme Court that this was an appropriate time not to have people…suffer the negative consequences that can stem from having your name posted on Courtview.”

By James Brooks, Alaska Beacon

On May 1, the Alaska Court System will remove the marijuana possession convictions of about 750 Alaskans from Courtview, the state’s online database of court cases.

The Alaska Supreme Court announced the move in an order signed January 31 by the court’s five justices. The action, first publicized Sunday by The Alaska Landmine, follows years of similar, unsuccessful, legislative efforts to join a nationwide trend.

“I’m glad that the Supreme Court has ordered this,” said Sen. Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks.

The records will still be available for inspection at courthouses and will be discoverable by a formal criminal background check, but they won’t be as easy to find for the general public.

The removal covers only people who were 21 or older when they committed the offense of possessing an ounce or less of marijuana. The conviction can’t be associated with another crime.

Nancy Meade, general counsel for the Alaska Court System, declined an interview request on behalf of the Supreme Court justices who approved the new order.

Meade said the change originated with administrative staff and was considered by the justices under normal procedures.

“Given that [marijuana] has been legal for eight years, it appeared to the Supreme Court that this was an appropriate time not to have people, as I say, suffer the negative consequences that can stem from having your name posted on Courtview. Because the conduct is considered legal right now,” she said.

As states legalize recreational marijuana cultivation and use, they’re also considering whether to expunge, seal or otherwise obscure the criminal records of people who were convicted of marijuana-related crimes before legalization.

A criminal record could prevent someone from getting a job or housing, and obscuring marijuana records may prevent that problem for people convicted of nonviolent marijuana crimes.

“A lot of folks in my district, they have these barriers that are put in place, and a simple rule change, policy change, legislation, could change it for their entire lives,” said Rep. Stanley Wright, R-Anchorage.

In 2019 alone, Illinois, New Hampshire, Nevada and Washington state passed legislation obscuring marijuana-related convictions; altogether, 41 states have some form of legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Alaska isn’t one of those states, despite a bipartisan push last year. In 2022, the state House voted 30-8 to approve a bill to conceal marijuana convictions from Courtview and criminal background searches, but the measure failed to pass the Senate before the legislative session ended. A similar bill was also proposed by Sen. Mike Shower, R-Wasilla.

Wright reintroduced the bill this year and already has five Democratic and independent cosponsors.

He said on Tuesday that he’s still considering whether the bill is needed; a law may be necessary, he said, in order to prevent a future court from reversing the rule change.

Sen. Löki Tobin, D-Anchorage, said her office is also considering a bill of its own.

In addition to providing more surety, a bill could reach further than a simple court rule change.

The court system is in charge of Courtview, which allows it to exclude marijuana convictions without a state law. Under Administrative Rule 40, it already excludes more than a dozen categories of items, such as some stalking and domestic violence protective order requests.

It can’t change the rules for criminal background checks, which Wright’s bill would also cover. That bill has yet to receive a hearing, but it’s identical to the one that failed to pass last year, and officials at the Department of Public Safety said as many as 8,500 cases would need to be examined to determine whether they are covered by the bill.

This story was first published by Alaska Beacon.

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