Walker signs alcohol, marijuana reform bill

Underage kids who drink alcohol will face a violation, not a full-fledged crime, under a new bill signed into law in a ceremony at the Rasmuson Foundation headquarters in Anchorage.

Gov. Bill Walker signed Senate Bill 165 into law on Wednesday afternoon, according to an email from spokeswoman Katie Marquette.

The measure, introduced by Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, incorporates changes to the state’s alcohol regulations that were first suggested by a reform committee that has spent more than 8,000 hours on the topic since 2012. While the bulk of the proposed reforms did not make it onto the Legislative calendar this year, Micciche pushed a pared-down bill that contained a few core provisions.

Before the bill, juveniles caught with alcohol faced misdemeanor charges and the loss of their driver’s license, even if the incident didn’t involve driving.

Studies indicated that having a misdemeanor record and losing a driver’s license led to worse rehabilitation options.

Now, minors in possession of alcohol will simply be fined $500, an amount that can be reduced to $50 if they complete an alcohol education course within six months of sentencing.

The bill also includes a provision sought by the Marijuana Control Board that allows national criminal background checks from the FBI for businessmen and women opening marijuana businesses in Alaska.

Those background checks were considered crucial for the state’s new legal marijuana industry to abide by federal standards.

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of Feb. 26

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024

For Thursday, Feb. 29 Assault At 5:49 p.m. on Thursday, a 17-year-old… Continue reading

The Alaska Supreme Court is seen on Thursday, Feb. 8, in Juneau. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska Supreme Court decides key question: Who is an Alaskan?

An Alaskan is someone physically present in the state who intends to… Continue reading

Pink salmon are seen in an undated photo. (NOAA Fisheries photo)
New salmon study adds to evidence that pink salmon could be crowding out sockeye

A new analysis of nearly 25,000 fish scales offers more evidence that… Continue reading

Liana Wallace offers a water blessing during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Augustus G. Brown Swimming Pool on Friday following nearly a year of renovations. The pool is scheduled to reopen for public use on Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Ribbon-cutting for Augustus G. Brown Swimming Pool a blessing for longtime users after 11-month renovation

Infrastructure upgrades, new locker rooms and student tile art in lobby greet visitors at ceremony.

The Alaska State Capitol in Juneau is seen on Friday, Feb. 23. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska Legislature plans March 12 vote on Gov. Dunleavy’s executive orders

Order giving governor full control of Alaska Marine Highway Operations board among six scheduled.

Brenda Josephson, a Haines resident, testifies in favor of a bill setting statewide standards for municipal property assessors during a state Senate Community and Regional Affairs Committee hearing Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Statewide standards for municipal property assessments sought in bill by Juneau lawmaker

Some residents say legislation doesn’t go far enough, want limits on annual valuation increases.

The front page of the Juneau Empire on Feb. 26, 2004. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Empire Archives: Juneau’s history for the week of March 2

Three decades of capital city coverage.

Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks Thursday, April 27, 2023, at a news conference in Juneau. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska House considers constitutional guarantee for Permanent Fund dividend

The Alaska House of Representatives will vote as soon as Friday morning… Continue reading

Most Read