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Recommendations offer window into Alaska policymakers' thoughts on legal pot

A new set of recommendations from the state regulatory agency charged with managing legal marijuana offers a window into what policymakers are currently thinking about how Alaska's nascent pot industry should run.

Staffers of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control division prepared the report, called "Preliminary Considerations for Implementation of AS 17.38," said Cynthia Franklin, the head of the agency. The ABC Board endorsed its release, she said.

The recommendations, which lean heavily on the experience of Colorado in regulating a commercial pot industry, cover everything from serving sizes of marijuana edibles to local control.

The Feb. 12 memo is intended to "to provide a common frame of reference, identify major policy issues and where feasible, make recommendations as to implementation and policy decisions."

Among the recommendations in the report:

• No distinction should be made between marijuana sold for medical use vs. recreational use. "Differentiating between medical and recreational marijuana has caused many regulatory issues for the states that have done so," the report says.

• Separate licenses for cultivation, manufacturing, retail sales and testing laboratories should be issued.

• Alaska should make the recommended serving size for marijuana edibles 5 milligrams of active THC, with a maximum of 50 milligrams per package, which is half of what Washington allows.

• The state should ban the sale of "adulterated" products, where a ready-to-eat product such as a candy bar is sprayed with a marijuana concentrate, repackaged and sold as a marijuana "infused" product. "Colorado's most contentious marijuana edibles would be unsellable in Alaska markets by making this statutory change," the report says.

• Marijuana should be "removed from the controlled substances schedule" entirely, to "be truly regulated like alcohol."

• Packaged marijuana products should carry an easily recognizable symbol and childproof packaging should be required.

• The state should emulate current options for local control of alcohol that would offer communities around the state the ability to set their own rules for marijuana.

Further documents including a report on a state delegation to a Colorado conference on pot regulation can also be found on the website.

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