A spirit of joy can be seen amongst the Alaskan marijuana lovers as the state legalized the usage of marijuana amongst adults and its sale in retail shops starting from this week. The new regulations were put into effect by Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer on Tuesday.
This has been in pipeline for quite some time now starting from the receipt of approval from the Alaska Marijuana Control Board in December. However, the Alaskan community shall have to wait until 11th April for the new law to become effective.
Mark Springer, chairman of the Alaska Marijuana Control Board revealed his excitement to the Anchorage Daily News by saying that, “The big news is, the suspense is over.” Certain cities like Denver, San Francisco and a few more local municipalities allow consumption of cannabis at their site of purchase. However, this is the very first time that public marijuana consumption at retail shops has received the backing of law.
Cary Carrigan, the executive director of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association revealed to the Associated Press “This is something that’s not happening anywhere else in the U.S. yet. As we start developing this, people are really looking at us, so I know that everybody wants to get it right. I don’t want to have to get this pulled back and revisited.”
Marijuana dispensary owners receiving a special onsite usage authorization shall have to earmark a designated area like an outdoor lounge or patio which will be distinct from their retail space. This area should be physically separated from the retail space through a “secure door” and needs to have adequate ventilation.
Retailers shall be under obligation to limit the maximum sale of marijuana to one gram of cannabis and “edible marijuana products not to exceed 10 mg of THC to any one person per day.” Interested retailers have to pay an on-site endorsement fee of $1000 and renewal fee of $600 as and when required. The endorsement will also comprise of an annual fee of $2000.
Under this policy, the local governments can also completely prohibit on-site usage or tighten restrictions like limiting consumption as and when it deems fit. The Oregon lawmakers are also considering legislation to earmark social use areas of marijuana.
This new law is bound to come in as a breather for the residents and tourists of Alaska who can now legally purchase cannabis and consume it at the store itself without having to worry about legal prosecution. The adults in Alaska are not permitted to smoke marijuana in public and that is why they have to limit their smoking range within the four walls of their home.
However, many apartment owners and public housing society owners prohibit the same, leaving the smokers with no legal place for recreational or medical marijuana consumption. Erik Altieri, the executive director of NORML, the marijuana law reform organization pointed out “Allowing social consumption is sensible from a business perspective, particularly for states with large amounts of tourists who otherwise have no place to legally consume, but it also has a social justice component.”
He further added that, “By preventing retail outlets and other venues from being licensed and regulated for social consumption, many patients will have to choose between effective cannabis treatment for their ailments or being thrown out of public housing. This causes the civil liberties that come with marijuana legalization to still being kept at arms length from low-income individuals and members of other marginalized communities.”