Alaska OK’s Marijuana Use at Pot Shops
Alaska is the first state to allow adults to get stoned onsite. According to the AP—the Marijuana Control Board voted 3-2 Friday to “allow people to use pot at certain stores that will sell it, a first among the four states that have legalized the drug.”
They also changed the definition of the term “in public” to allow for consumption at some pot shops, none of which are open yet. Colorado, Washington and Oregon have legalized recreational marijuana, but ban its public use, including in pot stores. That goes for your vape pen as well, man. More from the AP:
“This would put, I think, Alaska in the forefront on this issue,” said Chris Lindsey, a legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project.
On-site consumption was a hot topic during the public comment process in Alaska. Board chairman Bruce Schulte, who offered the amendment, said there appeared to be a public demand for such facilities.
Voters last November passed the state’s initiative legalizing recreational pot use by those 21 and older. The initiative banned public consumption but didn’t define “public.”
Regulators adopted an emergency regulation earlier this year when the law was taking effect that defined “in public” as a place where the public or a substantial group of people have access.
Cynthia Franklin, the board’s director, said she expects another round of regulations detailing exactly what will be allowed at those stores, such as the types of marijuana.
In Colorado, where legalization banned pot use in public and in bars, marijuana tourists and activists have complained the limits are too restrictive. People have been ticketed for smoking pot on sidewalks and in public parks. In Washington, use is restricted to a private place and there’s been no move by the Legislature to open that up, said Brian Smith, spokesman for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.
Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board also voted to scrap a proposed regulation banning marijuana clubs. Schulte said the intent behind that was not to sanction or endorse the clubs. But he said if the board has no authority under the initiative to regulate the clubs – as an attorney for the board stated – it also can’t prohibit them. The Alaska regulations, once adopted, will undergo a legal review by Alaska’s Department of Law.
It is still illegal to buy marijuana in Alaska because businesses have not yet been licensed to sell it. The board is set to begin accepting business applications in February, with the initial industry licenses expected to be awarded in May.
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