Alaska was one of the most recent states to legalize recreational use of marijuana – and they are moving in a direction that no one else has attempted yet. They will allow persons over 21 to consume cannabis in certain dispensaries once they are open.
Currently, it is still illegal to purchase marijuana in Alaska as no official dispensaries have been opened for recreational sales. They are set to start accepting applications in February of next year – a little slow moving but with their different approach to recreational laws, it is completely understandable in my opinion.
Originally, the new laws stated that public consumption would still be banned – however this was not a popular decision as the definition of “public” was too broad. States such as Colorado have laws that do not allow marijuana consumption in any public places, though there was a movement (which is now on hold in hopes of compromise) attempting to bring designated places (such as clubs and bars) which would allow for public consumption.
Earlier this year Alaskan regulators adopted a policy that would define public as a place where the public or a substantial group of people have access. A group of supporters of the initiative said that this definition was still too restrictive – eliminating the possibility for marijuana consumption at weddings or similar parties.
To accommodate the board amended the definition in the new cannabis law that would allow a new type of license that will allow cannabis consumption on site at certain dispensaries. The fact that they will allow marijuana to be smoked or vaped in the establishments is something that none of the other legal states have even considered.
This is probably a very good move on Alaska’s part – I personally would love the opportunity to try a new cannabis strain in a small quantity on site prior to buying a whole quarter of the bud. It is probably something that many expected to be able to do when cannabis was legalized, but this will be the first chance for this type of experience.
All these regulations will still have to undergo a legal review by Alaska’s Department of Law. Once approved, companies will finally be allowed to start applications for the new licenses.
It’s likely that the first stores approved will move to open as quickly as possible – so even though we still have to wait until February for some substantial movement, it should be a quick ride from there on out for those waiting in anticipation to purchase legal marijuana in Alaska.