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Mixed results for Alaska marijuana legislation as lawmakers wind down

  • Author: Laurel Andrews
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published April 19, 2015

Two marijuana bills surfaced Sunday as legislators scrambled to finish the regular 2015 session. The Marijuana Control Board bill passed out of the Legislature, while a bill clarifying municipal regulations of marijuana businesses was sent back to the Senate Rules Committee, signifying it didn't have the votes to pass.

The Marijuana Control Board bill, House Bill 123, passed the House chamber Sunday morning by a vote of 37-1. Rep. Tammie Wilson, a Republican from North Pole, was the sole dissenting vote.

The bill would establish a Marijuana Control Board comprised of five volunteer members appointed by the governor. It would work under the auspices of the Alcoholic Beverage Control board, sharing the ABC board's staff and director. Increased funding of $1.57 million for the ABC Board was placed in next year's the budget for more staff and resources.

HB 123 now heads to Gov. Bill Walker for his signature. In a prepared statement Sunday, Walker expressed his support for the bill. "Once signed into law, this legislation will fulfill a critical component of the initiative voters passed in November 2014," he said.

Late Sunday evening, House Bill 75 was referred back to the Senate Rules Committee. The bill would clarify municipal processes for registering marijuana businesses, give municipalities power to establish civil and criminal penalties for businesses and establish a 24-plant limit per household, among other regulations.

No other piece of marijuana legislation is poised to pass this regular session. The closely watched marijuana crime bill -- Senate Bill 30 -- stalled in the House Judiciary Committee.