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Bill establishing Marijuana Control Board in Alaska signed into law

  • Author: Laurel Andrews
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published May 6, 2015

A bill signed into law Monday creates a Marijuana Control Board that will take the lead in crafting Alaska's marijuana laws.

Signed by Gov. Bill Walker, House Bill 123 creates a five-member volunteer board that will craft Alaska's marijuana regulations. It will address a wide array of issues, from the amount of THC allowed per edible product to business license types to security and safety requirements.

Walker's signing of the bill is no surprise. He said he supported the version that lawmakers passed.

"I look forward to seeing the hard work of the (Alcoholic Beverage Control) Board continue, and I know the Marijuana Control Board has an incredibly big task ahead," Walker said in a press release.

The Marijuana Control Board will share the staff, resources and director of the ABC Board. Most of the $1.57 million in funding allocated for the Marijuana Control Board in the capital budget will go toward the expansion of the ABC Board, which has already hired several new employees to accommodate the new task.

The state is actively seeking board members, who will come from the public safety and health sectors, rural Alaska and the marijuana industry.

The bill also gives explicit enforcement authority to the ABC Board -- meaning that it may use peace officer powers to shut down businesses acting illegally, as it does with out-of-compliance alcohol-related businesses.

An amendment added to the bill during the final days of the session prohibits anyone with a felony conviction within the last five years, or someone on probation or parole for a felony, from obtaining a license for a marijuana establishment.

The option of creating a Marijuana Control Board was written into Ballot Measure 2, which passed in November and legalized recreational marijuana in the state. Walker requested HB 123 be introduced to the Legislature. It passed the last day of the legislative session.

The bill was one of five bills discussed in the Legislature this year, and the only one that passed. It was deemed "critical" by marijuana industry supporters.

Walker has indicated that he does not intend to introduce any more marijuana legislation until the regulations are in place.

Walker also signed House Bill 116 on Monday, which reauthorizes the ABC Board until 2018. The ABC Board issues liquor licenses, enforces alcohol regulations and laws.

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