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As individual states have passed legalization measures, citizens and activists, as well as lawmakers, have struggled to adjust those laws to reflect the reality of people’s needs. Even states that have legalized cannabis for adult recreational use, hiccups in the rollout of their laws have caused a broad range of issues.
Sometimes, a failure to understand the contents of the law leaves individuals vulnerable to criminal consequences. Other times, the law simply doesn’t adequately address certain scenarios. As a result, addendums, modifications, and amendments to cannabis laws are common. Even the most libertarian of states is not exempt from this process.
Alaska is currently moving forward with a potential change to their legalization law that could impact what people experience at retail cannabis dispensaries. On Thursday, December 20th, 2018, Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board voted to approve new regulations for dispensaries. These regulations will theoretically allow retail cannabis stores the right to let people use cannabis on the premises. The potential regulations passed in a 3-2 vote, and they still need to be reviewed by the Department of Law and signed by the lieutenant governor before the change could take effect.
Freestanding cannabis retail shops will have the right to seek endorsements for on-site consumption. They can then sell products to consumers, who will have the ability to use them on sight. People have compared this kind of establishment to bars and restaurants that sell alcohol. They would likely become social hangouts for individuals who enjoy cannabis.
The law will not allow the use of cannabis concentrates while at a shop. It is also important to realize that the consumption area must be separate from the rest of the store. Unlike alcohol licenses, which sometimes allow individuals to bring outside alcohol into a facility if they cannot serve it there, dispensaries will not have the legal right to allow people to consume cannabis purchased elsewhere on their premises.
After 4 years of arguments on this topic, it is very exciting to see that Alaska is finally making some progress. Hopefully, within the next few weeks, these new regulations will move through the legal process of becoming official. Until then, Alaskans will have to be content to take their retail, recreational cannabis back to their homes for consumption.
For previous articles about legalization, click here.
Photo Credit: Frank K via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY 2.0