File photo

File photo

Alaska approves regulations for marijuana consumption in retail shops

Some in the industry say it’s possible the first onsite use areas are approved by this summer

Alaska is now the first in the country with statewide rules allowing onsite use of marijuana at specially authorized stores.

On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer signed the regulations that were approved by marijuana regulators in December. Last week the Department of Law found no legal problems with the rules.

The rules go into effect April 11, at which point interested retail businesses can start applying for onsite use.

Marijuana distributors will have to apply for a special onsite use endorsement and devise plans that meet security, ventilation and other standards and pass muster with the Marijuana Control Board. Under the rules, local governments can protest onsite consumption endorsements and use an ordinance or a vote of the people to prohibit onsite use or aspects of it, such as smoking.

The Marijuana Control Board considered these regulations for two years and 11 public meetings, according to a memorandum from the Department of Law.

Some in the industry say it’s possible the first onsite use areas are approved by this summer. But Cary Carrigan, executive director of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, said in an interview with the Associated Press there won’t be a sudden proliferation of smoking sites.

[Marijuana industry professionals say they heeded warning of Colorado’s mistakes, did a better job]

“This is something that’s not happening anywhere else in the U.S. yet. As we start to develop this, people are really looking at us, so I know that everybody wants to get it right,” he said of retail marijuana shop owners and state regulators.

The rules contemplate onsite use areas that are separated from the retail shop by walls and a secure door, or outdoors. They also say shops that allow for onsite use are to be freestanding, keeping with the language of a statewide smoke-free workplace law.

State marijuana regulators have left open for discussion whether cannabis shops that want to offer onsite consumption of edibles but not allow smoking need to be in freestanding buildings. Marijuana Control Board Chairman Mark Springer said he expects revisions to provide more clarity as regulators and the industry continue navigating the issue.

California permits marijuana smoking at marijuana retailers with specially designed lounges. But it also allows cities to ban those kinds of shops. San Francisco is one of the only cities that has embraced Amsterdam-like smoking lounges so far. The city was among the first in the state to allow for what basically amounts to a cigar bar for cannabis, according to an ABC7 report. Specially designed vents are required to keep the air clean and circulating.


• Contact reporter Mollie Barnes at mbarnes@juneauempire.com or 523-2228. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


More in News

Even as coronavirus numbers are going down and vaccines are being distributed, pandemic-related facilities like the testing site at Juneau International Airport, seen here in this Oct. 12 file photo, are scheduled to remain for some time, according to city health officials. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file)
Vaccines are coming, but pandemic facilities will remain

Testing sites and other COVID-19 operations will continue, officials say, but infections are trending down.

After violent protesters loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol today, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, left, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., join other senators as they return to the House chamber to continue the joint session of the House and Senate and count the Electoral College votes cast in November's election, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Murkowski on impeachment: ‘I will listen carefully’ to both sides

As for timing, the senator said, “our priority this week must be to ensure safety in Washington, D.C.”

Has it always been a police car. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Juneau City Hall. The City and Borough of Juneau has distributed nearly $5 million in household and individual assistance grants since October. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
All housing and most personal assistance grants processed

About $5 million in aid is flowing to households and individuals in Juneau.

A child plays at Capital School Park. The park is in line for a remodel that will fix the crumbling retaining wall, visible in the background. (Dana Zigmund / Juneau Empire)
A new life is in store for Capital School Park

Public input is helping craft a vision for the park’s voter-approved facelift.

Expected heavy snow and high winds Thursday evening prompted Alaska’s Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to issue a warning of increased avalanche hazard along Thane Road. (File photo)
Avalanche risk increasing along Thane Road

Be careful and plan for the possibility of an extended road closure.

White House, tribes joined to deliver Alaska Native vaccines

The initiative has treated Indigenous tribes as sovereign governments and set aside special vaccine shipments.

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the top U.S. public health agency said that coronavirus can spread greater distances through the air than 6 feet, particularly in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials continued to say such spread is uncommon, and current social distancing guidelines still make sense. (NIAID-RML via AP)
COVID at a glance for Friday, Jan. 8

The most recent state and local numbers.

Federal report says pandemic hit seafood industry hard

Catch brought to the docks fell 29% over the course of the first seven months of the year.

Most Read