Scott Woodham

Jason wonders, “I’m curious about how the law affects those that have a criminal record on account of a marijuana arrest/charge from before legalization. Can those people expunge their record? Is there any process for them to correct their criminal record now that marijuana is legal?” When it comes to our discussions of cannabis laws in Alaska, there are precious few solid answers. Fortunately for everyone, this is one of them. Unfortunately for some, that answer is no, there's no process to remove a cannabis criminal charge from one's record. Ballot Measure 2 didn't create any new statutes providing for one, either. Alaska Department of Law Criminal Division Director John Skidmore acknowledged in an email that Alaska law doesn't provide a way for anyone to seek removal of a criminal...Scott Woodham
A few weeks ago , we considered whether cannabis concentrates would eventually become available to retail consumers in Alaska. But a reader identified some uncharted ground in that conversation. “Lady Marmalade” asks: In discussing the possible future of concentrates, you didn't discuss the limit of less than 76 percent THC in the proposed regulations. What would that mean for dabs? Don't they use concentrates in making edibles? Does that mean that edibles would be lower quality? What would 76 percent mean to that process? Proposed regulation 3 AAC 306.545(a), which in addition to making sure manufactured cannabis products and extracted concentrates require board approval, would set a cap on the THC content of concentrates: 3 AAC 306.545. Approval of concentrates and marijuana products. (...Scott Woodham
Shawn, a chef (and expert punster), wonders whether Alaska cannabis regulators have considered his industry as they're setting the initial boundaries of the legal market. “I would like to know how they plan to address edibles and establishments that sell them. Are they going to allow a restaurant or dinner club that is an adult atmosphere like a bar, 21 and over, to serve cannabis-infused foods? I'm a chef and I think that we should have opportunity to stake our claim in this 'budding' marijuana industry.” The regulation process is ongoing and regulators are still seeking public input on the draft rules issued so far, so things are a bit fluid at the moment. But it appears that no, Alaska's current draft regulations don't take into account the range of likely scenarios involving chefs and...Scott Woodham
“AKEngineer” is hoping for clarity on a source of confusion he or she discovered in close readings of the proposed regulations that will eventually shape Alaska's legal cannabis industry: The ballot initiative specifically made it legal to give up to an ounce of marijuana to someone over 21. The proposed new regulations (appear to contradict the law and) make it illegal to give any amount “to a consumer” without purchasing a $5,000 license and going through a bureaucratic mess. Do regulations trump the law passed by the citizens? Or, if I give a friend a joint, is he/she not a "consumer"? Well, if AKEngineer gives a friend a joint, one would expect that person to consume it. But does consumption actually make someone a “consumer”? Engineer specifically referenced some lines in the...Scott Woodham
As Alaska's Marijuana Control Board continues accepting written comments on the legal system that is taking shape, Tristan wonders, “Will people with criminal records be allowed to participate in the cannabis industry?” So far, the answer is yes, but that depends on what we mean by “participate,” and what kind of criminal record we're talking about. With the passage of House Bill 123 last session, which among other things created the MCB, the Alaska Legislature added a new paragraph to the initiative-created Alaska Statute 17.38.100, one that restricts people convicted of a felony within the past five years from being involved in a registered cannabis-related business. The new bit, AS 17.38.100(i), reads thusly: A marijuana establishment may not be registered under this chapter if a...Scott Woodham
Well, Alaska's Marijuana Control Board has released the third package of proposed regulations and held meetings in Anchorage on Monday and Tuesday . Regulators heard feedback and discussed the rules taking shape for Alaska's legal cannabis industry. Today, we'll look at a question related to some of those rules under development. “Fishboy from Juneau” asks: “Will extracts like BHO (Butane Hash Oil) and shatter be available for us Alaskans? What do the laws look like surrounding concentrates?” It appears at this point that, yes, concentrates like those will be available for Alaskans once the licenses to produce, test and sell them are granted. But some discussion remains before the final rules take shape, and no one's been licensed yet. As we've learned previously , home production of...Scott Woodham
“Chilly Willy” asks Highly Informed this week, “Will I be able to barter, or trade for service, my legally grown weed? Will there be a safe and legal way for me to trade my bud?” Willy is asking about personal-use herb, not any grown by proxy for a medical card holder, and not any grown by licensed commercial growers after they're established. While strictly speaking, trading goods or services for personal-use cannabis is not allowed according to the state, some circumstances might make enforcement or regulation difficult. As Alaska Dispatch News has previously reported , authorities have said that bartering personal-use cannabis in exchange for goods or services is not allowed. The reasoning is that receiving something of value is considered profiting from cannabis reserved for personal...Scott Woodham
This week, a reader asks a question getting to the heart of an issue that will eventually need resolution as Alaska's attempt to structure its legal cannabis industry goes forward. Other states that have legalized pot have roads leading more or less from every pot store to every potential customer. But a great many Alaskans live off the road system. They rely on small planes for travel and on air cargo parcels for practically everything, from construction supplies to bulk grocery items, and even alcohol. Courtney asks, “Is it reasonable to expect that if my community in the rural part of the state 'opts out' of commercial cannabis, I will be able to order it like I can alcohol? I live off the road system in Bethel and we have a no-limit local option on alcohol.” The short answer right now...Scott Woodham
Chris wonders after a previous Highly Informed column noted that alternatives to smoking cannabis aren't without potential risks: “I've been a daily user of edibles and am feeling like I've become allergic: runny nose, stuffed sinus, sneezing etc. Is this a possible side effect?” First off, it is possible for people to be allergic to cannabis, and the indications so far are that such allergies respond to common treatments. Cannabis, like many other plants, weeds and grasses, can cause the immune system to overreact in defense. That overreaction is what we call an allergy. An extreme kind of allergic reaction is known as anaphylaxis. It is severe and life-threatening, and can come upon someone in seconds. In anaphylaxis, the flood of chemicals sent by the body can cause symptoms like shock...Scott Woodham
This week, Highly Informed will take on a question that may seem a bit absurd on its face but is actually quite interesting to consider. Sometimes entertaining absurdity can be instructive, and sometimes (as with the famous quotation ascribed to Tertullian defending a core tenet of Christianity, "I believe it because it is absurd") it can serve as the basis for strong conviction. With that in mind, Let's get to it. “Concerned Citizen” asks: “Dear Highly Informed, if morning conditions are right in the Anchorage bowl, would it be possible for an inversion to trap all the pot smoke and get the whole city high?” The short answer is no. Even if an inversion concentrated all of the pot smoke created on the most tokingest day in Anchorage, it would not get the whole city high. To some people,...Scott Woodham