Laurel Andrews

As the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a court case challenging Affordable Care Act subsidies, Alaska legislators on Wednesday heard a presentation attacking another component of the ACA: Medicaid expansion.

A representative from the Florida-based Foundation for Government Accountability traveled to Alaska this week to give presentations in Wasilla on Tuesday and Juneau on Wednesday opposing Medicaid expansion.

Senior fellow Christie Herrera of the conservative foundation met a mostly friendly crowd in Wasilla and more resistance in Juneau.

Herrera said in Wasilla that she wanted to show the “other side of the story” — “some of the real horror stories that have happened in the states that expanded Medicaid,” Herrera said...

Laurel Andrews

A Canadian decision to close the border at night between the Southeast Alaska community of Hyder and the British Columbia town of Stewart has residents in both communities bristling about potential economic and safety impacts.

“It’s got everybody kind of up in arms right now,” Wes Loe, president of the Hyder Community Association and owner of Hyder General Store, said Friday.

Hyder is a community of roughly 87 people on the southeastern tip of Alaska’s panhandle. About 2 miles northeast sits the B.C. community of Stewart, population roughly 400...

Laurel Andrews

A bill to regulate commercial marijuana, including proposed business license types, was introduced in the Alaska Legislature on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 62 was forwarded to the State Affairs committee after being introduced on the Senate floor.

Alaska's law legalizing recreational marijuana use went into effect Tuesday. While the law outlines conduct surrounding personal use, what commercialization will look like is left up to the state to figure out. The state has nine months to craft regulations for businesses.

Some details proposed in the measure:

• Businesses would need to be at least 200 feet from a church, school grounds or correctional facility...

Laurel Andrews

The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday banned the manufacture of marijuana concentrates using flammable solvents like butane -- including hashish or hash oil -- without permission from authorities.

The ordinance passed unanimously, 9-0, during a special meeting on the day Alaska’s recreational marijuana law went into effect. The ordinance was introduced in early February by the administration of Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan...

Laurel Andrews

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board issued an emergency regulation at a meeting of its board Tuesday morning defining a “public place" for the purposes of legal marijuana consumption.

The regulation adopted at the meeting defines a public place as “a place to which the public or a substantial group of persons has access and includes highways, transportation facilities, schools, places of amusement or business, parks, playgrounds, prisons, and hallways, lobbies, and other portions of apartment houses and hotels not constituting rooms or apartments designed for actual residence.”...

Laurel Andrews

Feb. 24, 2015, is a historic day in the Last Frontier: Alaska becomes the third state in the U.S. in which recreational cannabis use is legalized.

Legalization brings along a dizzying number of questions. What will businesses look like? How will existing criminal statutes change? Will communities opt to ban marijuana sales?

State and local governments are tasked with redefining the parameters of marijuana as it is brought out of the shadows and into well-lit, regulated territory. Much remains to be seen.

But, there is some clarity. Laws outlining personal use provide a solid foundation as the state moves forward. Below, we’ve compiled answers to 13 pressing questions as Alaska enters a new era...

Laurel Andrews

Gov. Bill Walker introduced a bill Monday that would create a Marijuana Control Board in charge of regulating the industry in the state and giving the board the power to enforce its laws.

Senate Bill 60 would create a new board housed under the state Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.

The director and staff of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board would also serve the 5-member Marijuana Control Board so that the new board could "benefit from the considerable experience and expertise" of the ABC Board, Walker said in his transmittal letters to the Legislature...

Laurel Andrews

Under a proposed bill circulating in the Legislature, marijuana would no longer be a controlled substance in Alaska, while new misdemeanors and fines would be created for some marijuana misconduct.

An updated draft of Senate Bill 30 was reviewed Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Its counterpart, the identical House Bill 79, was heard simultaneously in the House Judiciary Committee.

“Marijuana will be treated as a regulated substance under Alaska law” and would no longer be a controlled substance in Alaska, Sen. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, said of the bill revisions...

Laurel Andrews

Chaga may not look like much -- it's a lumpy, charcoal-colored bulb protruding from birch trees -- but this fungus is trending.

A cottage industry surrounding chaga is growing in Alaska. Numerous health claims are bolstering chaga businesses as demand grows both in and out of state.

It’s the newest offering in the Talkeetna-based Kahiltna Birchworks lineup of products.

Owners and self-proclaimed “tree-people” Dulce Ben-East and Michael East, who have made their livelihoods from selling birch syrup, said they often see the fungus as they traverse across their homestead...

Laurel Andrews
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Chaga may not look like much -- a lumpy, charcoal-colored bulb protruding from birch trees -- but this fungus is trending.

A cottage industry surrounding chaga is growing in Alaska. Numerous health claims are bolstering chaga businesses as demand grows both in and out of state...

Laurel Andrews