Alaska Marijuana Control Board rejects in-store Marijuana Consumption Proposal

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on February 13, 2017.

Alaska Marijuana Control Board on Thursday rejected a proposal that would allow onsite consumption of marijuana at retail stores in the state.

A 3-2 majority voted to shelve the regulations after the control board’s staff said public notices contained errors and a decision would have to be postponed for at least another 30 days.

The proposed new rules would have let people buy marijuana products in authorized stores and go into separate store areas to partake.

Board member Mark Springer of Bethel said he was worried how Donald Trump administration would react to marijuana consumption in public. .

“We don’t want to draw a whole lot of attention to what is going on in this state with marijuana,” Springer told fellow board members. “We don’t want a million people getting off a cruise ship in Juneau saying, ‘Oh yeah, it’s great. We’re going to go over a half-dozen stores and smoke marijuana.”

Supporters of the Marijuana Control Board's decision say it was necessary to protect the health of workers who would otherwise be exposed to smoke for several hours a day.

Industry board members Nick Miller and Brandon Emmett voted against the decision to kill the Alaska project.

"This is an extremely shortsighted decision in my opinion, one based upon perceived dangers and political fear," Emmett stated. "I hope that this board would be open to revisiting the issue in the future when we realize the sky has not fallen."

Alaska voters approved legalizing recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over in 2014. The first license for a legal pot business was issued last June, while the first retail shops opened last fall.

Recreational marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but it has been legal in seven other states and the District of Columbia.

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