Alaska News

More draft regulations for Alaska's marijuana industry unveiled

Alaska's Marijuana Control Board has issued a new set of draft regulations dealing specifically with marijuana retail facilities.

The regulations were issued Thursday as the board hosted its first meeting in Fairbanks. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and Marijuana Control Board director Cynthia Franklin said in the meeting the draft regulations will be open for public comment July 7 through Aug. 8.

The regulations announced Thursday cover a variety of issues related to retail businesses selling marijuana, including who can obtain a marijuana retail license, marijuana handler permits, health and safety standards, hours of operation and restrictions on advertising.

It also outlines who cannot get a marijuana license: those who have a previous felony conviction or those who have operated a "marijuana delivery service, a marijuana club, or a marijuana establishment illegally" two years before the regulations go into effect. That section effectively targets marijuana businesses like Discreet Deliveries, the Alaska Cannabis Club and others, which Franklin said have been operating illegally.

However, the draft notes in the same section, that prohibition may not apply if the board finds the business owner has "diligently worked" with the board to comply with current laws.

The draft also addresses marijuana retail store privileges. It specifies that "delivery" means to "hand to a person who purchases the product on licensed premises only." It does not allow for transport to a customer elsewhere.

After the reading of the draft, Marijuana Control Board public member Brandon Emmett said he was concerned with certain aspects of the regulations that would "end the marijuana industry before it starts." Before he could elaborate, he was cut off by Franklin on the advice of the board's attorney.


She reminded him that the board had no input on drafting the regulations presented Thursday. She said introducing the regulations wasn't the time for the board to begin debating the merits of the regulations and that it should go to the people first.

"Unless you're talking about changing a word or two, you're usurping the public's role in this," she said. "This is by no means final -- I just want to make sure we don't wander off."

Per the initiative legalizing marijuana, the first business licenses will be issued in May 2016.

The board also considered changes to an earlier set of draft regulations dealing with local-control issues. Those draft regulations are also available for comment during the same period.

Suzanna Caldwell

Suzanna Caldwell is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in 2017.