Alaska Marijuana News

Legalization day blog: Local pizzeria offers special 'Cheech and Chong' pizza

Eagle River pizzeria offers special legalization day dish: Eagle River restaurant Pizza Man is offering a special pizza in honor of the first day that marijuana is legalized in Alaska, with a shout out to an Anchorage Assembly member and mayoral candidate who introduced an ordinance that would have seen Anchorage ban commercial marijuana establishments before regulations had been enacted. Read the post advertising the pie for yourself:

State releases stats on pregnancy and pot use: To coincide with the legalization of marijuana Tuesday, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services released statistics on self-reported use of the drug by pregnant women from 2002 to 2011.

According to the report, in 2011, approximately 15 percent of Alaska women reported using marijuana in the 12 months prior to pregnancy, while 7.8 percent of women said they had consumed pot during pregnancy and 6.3 percent reported use following the birth of their child. Over the 10-year study period, only use during pregnancy increased substantially, from 3.5 percent in 2002 to 7.8 percent in 2011.

"Limited research on women of childbearing age indicates higher marijuana use among younger, less educated, and lower income women," said the summary of an epidemiology bulletin posted by DHSS.

That lined up with the age ranges reported in the bulletin. According to DHSS, marijuana use was most prevalent among women younger than 20, as measured from 2009 to 2011. In that group, 33 percent admitted to smoking pot in the 12 months prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy, or after giving birth. Just over 13 percent admitted to smoking during pregnancy.

The number declined as age increased, with 23.7 percent of women aged 20-24 admitting to marijuana use, along with 11.5 percent use among women between 25 and 34 years old and just 10.6 percent among women older than 35. In addition to varying use among age groups, there were indications that location and the mother's race also played a role in marijuana use during pregnancy.

"Prenatal use among Alaska Native women and residents of the Northern and Southeast regions was nearly twice that of their comparison groups," the bulletin stated, but emphasized that the data is based on self-reporting.

Current research indicates prenatal cannabis use could affect the neurobiological development in babies, "including issues with attention, memory, and problem solving," the bulletin says. The data was based on self-reporting from about 18 percent of mothers who gave birth in the state over the study period. Read the full bulletin here.

No overnight citations issued in Anchorage: Despite increased patrols beginning at midnight -- when the possession and use of recreational marijuana became legal in Alaska -- Anchorage police said Tuesday they hadn't issued any citations overnight for public marijuana consumption in Alaska's largest city.

According to Anchorage Police Department communications director Jennifer Castro, as of about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, no tickets had been issued for anyone using pot in public. Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew was among those in downtown Anchorage at midnight. The Municipality of Anchorage defines public consumption as "a place to which the public or a substantial group of persons has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways, sidewalks, alleys, transportation facilities, parking areas, convention centers, sports arenas, schools, places of business or amusement, shopping centers, malls, parks, playgrounds, prisons, and hallways, lobbies, doorways not constituting rooms or apartments designed for actual residence."

The fine for public consumption in the city is $100. Police planned to continue enforcement throughout the day Tuesday.