Pot regulations for Alaska on track, but obstacles remain

ANCHORAGE — The chairman of Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board says the state is on track with setting rules for the recreational marijuana industry, but that a few challenges remain.

Bruce Schulte told the Alaska Public Radio Network Tuesday that the state finalized regulations in November and is preparing for Feb. 24, 2016, when the state has to begin accepting applications for licensing.

The board recently settled on residency requirements for pot business licenses by voting to approve the standards used for the Permanent Fund Dividend, which include being a resident of the state for a full calendar year.

Schulte said verifying residents is an important step to meet federal criteria.

“Which if met would basically keep the DEA (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration) out of our hair,” Schulte said. “And one of those was that we had an accurate way of vetting who is participating in this industry so by having a solid residency requirement and knowing who is applying that at least is one of those criteria.”

Schulte said there are difficulties with access to mandatory testing facilities for communities off the road system. Marijuana must be tested for mold, residual pesticides or fertilizer and to measure potency.

Schulte, a commercial pilot, also pointed to challenges with federal aviation rules regarding marijuana.

“Federal aviation regulations specifically say you cannot carry cannabis in a commercial flight, the air crew, the air carrier cannot carry cannabis in that fashion, unless it’s legal in that state,” Schulte said. “So it’s a fairly high bar and as a professional pilot, my attitude is yeah, I’m not going to do that, I don’t want to lose my license, but that’s the problem we have right now.”

Schulte said other areas of the marijuana industry where problems persist is with banking services and IRS rules.

“There are bills pending in both the House and Senate on banking and IRS rules and we’ll see, getting that accomplished is like getting an act of Congress, literally.”

___

Information from: KSKA-FM, http://www.kska.org

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