Laurel Andrews

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The Marijuana Control Board voted to allow consumption of marijuana at retail stores, which, if approved by Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, would make Alaska the first state to permit a regulated area for marijuana consumption outside of a person’s home or other private spaces. The change allows for people...
Laurel Andrews,Loren Holmes
The Marijuana Control Board will meet again to take a look at Alaska residency requirements after an 11th-hour change to its rules was met with shock and concern by both the state and industry supporters. On Dec. 1, the board “will discuss and may amend residency requirements” that were adopted last week, the board announced in an email. While marijuana businesses must be 100 percent Alaska-owned, on Friday the board changed the definition of what it takes to qualify as an Alaskan. Under the adopted regulations, a person must only fulfill Alaska voter registration requirements. All that is needed to do so is having a physical Alaska address and not being registered to vote in another state. Board chair Bruce Schulte texted Monday that the changes "could be problematic for staff to...Laurel Andrews
At the end of an all-day meeting Friday to craft Alaska's first regulations over the cannabis industry, the state Marijuana Control Board adopted new rules that could blow the door wide open to Outside investment. 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. Assistant Attorney General Harriet Milks called it a “sea change” that could “upend the whole program.” 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...Laurel Andrews
The Marijuana Control Board voted to allow consumption of marijuana at retail stores, which, if approved by Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, would make Alaska the first state to permit a regulated area for marijuana consumption outside of a person’s home or other private spaces. The change allows for people to buy marijuana at a retail store and consume it in a designated area on the premises. The board voted 3-2 in favor of the amendment, with Loren Jones, public health board member, and Peter Mlynarik, the public safety board member, dissenting. The regulations will go to the Department of Law for a formal review before heading to Mallott's desk. The amendment functions as a placeholder; specifics as to what these establishments will look like will be decided at a later date, director Cynthia...Laurel Andrews
Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board is meeting Friday, Nov. 20, to finalize the state’s commercial marijuana regulations. This story will be updated throughout the day, as changes are made to the proposed rules. Update 4:30 p.m. Friday: In the final hour of the meeting the board voted to change the marijuana business residency requirements. Now, one must meet the requirements of Alaska voter registration, far easier to achieve than the previous draft, which were based off of Permanent Fund Dividend requirements. To meet this requirement, a resident will need to have a physical Alaska address and no voter registration in any other state. Board member Mark Springer said he worried that the board was eliminating “a good stream of money” by having such stringent residency requirements. The...Laurel Andrews
After serving in the military for 17 years, Derrick Green left his full-time position at the Alaska National Guard this October with plans to make community service his life. As he put it, he wanted to "stop talking, start walking." That statement, which has become the name and slogan of Green’s open-ended campaign , encapsulates his views on helping others. Action, he says, is more important than discussion. Green, 34, isn't sure exactly where he or his campaign will end up. He doesn't know what form his passion will take over the long term, or how he'll make a living from his work. But he did know where he wanted to start. His first idea was simple: For 22 days, walk through Anchorage neighborhoods as a symbol of the oft-cited but questionable figure that 22 veterans kill themselves...Laurel Andrews
The Municipality of Anchorage aims to provide 300 housing units for homeless people within the next three years, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz announced Tuesday. The housing will provide “safety and security, and importantly, dignity, for all of Anchorage,” Berkowitz said Tuesday morning. But specifics as to what shape those 300 housing units will take -- or exactly how they might be funded -- were not fully formed Tuesday. The conference was held in a room at Sitka Place, which this summer opened 56 new housing units for the homeless and other vulnerable people, and was attended by employees from social service organizations, some formerly homeless Anchorage residents and members of the media. There are 300 to 400 “chronic homeless” people in Anchorage, Berkowitz said. A person is chronically...Laurel Andrews
After last month's onslaught of medical emergencies due to suspected Spice use around Anchorage, the first few weeks of November were relatively quiet for responders in what's become a public health crisis in Alaska's largest city. At Bean’s Cafe, a social services organization serving Anchorage’s homeless that has seen its clients hit especially hard by the Spice problem, the last two weeks have been the quietest since mid-July. In October, nearly 20 percent of all medical emergency transports were related to suspected Spice use, according to the Anchorage Fire Department. But so far in November, that number has dropped to just 8 percent of medical pickups. “It almost feels like life is returning to normal at the cafe,” said Lisa Sauder, executive director at Bean's. Leading into the...Laurel Andrews
Kayla, a 1-year-old wolverine, is the newest addition to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center employee Sarah Howard flew to New Jersey to get Kayla, and on Saturday morning brought her to Alaska, director Mike Miller said. The Skanes Zoological Park in Hoor, Sweden, contacted AWCC about Kayla. “For some reason, they have some extra (wolverines), which is unheard of in North America,” Miller said. Kayla is a Eurasian wolverine, a subspecies distinct from the North American wolverine. She joins Kasper, a male wolverine who was brought to the center from Norway. Like Kasper, Kayla will live in a custom-built enclosure that is attached to Miller’s home on the conservation center property. The wolverines may be introduced to each other in the future. On...Laurel Andrews,Bob Hallinen
Possessing and selling the synthetic drug Spice is now a crime in Alaska’s largest city, as the Anchorage Assembly unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday evening making “illicit synthetic drugs” illegal. The crowd clapped as the tally appeared on a large screen in the Assembly chambers. The ordinance contains broad language that covers both Spice (synthetic cannabinoids) and bath salts (synthetic cathinones). The possession and sale of both is now a misdemeanor crime. “Not everything will be covered by this ordinance,” city prosecutor Seneca Theno told the Assembly, but “this is as broad as we can do right now.” Still, some of the substances listed in the ordinance have been seized by APD, Theno said, and “would be testable and prosecutable.” The maximum penalty for selling Spice is now...Laurel Andrews