Marijuana Reform in Alaska News Review and Update Today:
Alaska has been at the forefront of the U.S. marijuana revolution considering it is one of only four states that legally permits the recreational use of marijuana. Washington, Oregon, and Colorado are the other three that have already passed legislation permitting the use of recreational marijuana. Now, Alaska wants to push ahead with marijuana reform by being the first to permit the use of recreational marijuana in the public shops that sell it. This is a significant step for Alaskan policy makers and one that is making headlines across the nation.
Alaskans now Permitted to use marijuana in Shops:
The Marijuana Control Board in Alaska voted last week in favor of allowing people to use marijuana in stores that sell it. As part of this rule change, the Control Board changed the way “public use” is defined. Using recreational marijuana in any of the four states that have approved its use has not been allowed in public, which includes the shops that sell it. Alaska altered the way “in public” is defined, specifically as it relates to the inside of certain marijuana shops. “In public”, specifically defined as any place where the public or a substantial group of people have access, was amended to allow for consumption in designated areas in particular licensed marijuana stores. Despite these new amendments, it is still actually illegal to buy marijuana in Alaska right now because the shops have not yet received the appropriate license to begin the business of marijuana sales.
Still Waiting on License to Sell Marijuana:
On site consumption of marijuana is still a secondary issue in Alaska right now since there are no businesses that actually have a license to sell it. The Control Board in Alaska will begin to receive and review applications in February and the approvals will likely happen by May of 2016. One goal of this process is to avoid the conundrum that other states find themselves in. For instance, in Colorado, one big complaint is that recreational marijuana can be purchased in many places but there are actually very few places where it can be legally consumed. This is particularly troublesome for tourists visiting the state and is a problem that Alaska is looking to avoid. If Alaska can successfully implement this change, it will be at the forefront of marijuana reform in the United States and likely used as a model for other states seeking to reform state laws.