• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 15s

Alaska AG says feds couldn’t overturn state’s pot law

By KTVA / AP 5:09 PM February 23, 2017
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) –

A representative for the Alaska attorney general’s office says a change in how the federal government enforces its own marijuana laws would not affect state marijuana laws.

Department of Law spokeswoman Cori Mills says Alaska’s law legalizing recreational marijuana wouldn’t be overturned.

She commented after White House spokesman Sean Spicer suggested during a press briefing Thursday that President Donald Trump’s administration might crack down on states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

When asked if the federal government was going to take some sort of action against recreational marijuana in certain states, Spicer responded, “Well, I think that’s a question for the Department of Justice. I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement of it.”

Mills says there is a different federal law, and it will be up to the federal government how they want to enforce that.

Cary Carrigan is executive director of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association (AMIA).

He says it’s too early to get too worked up about Spicer’s comments, and that this sounds like an initial overture.

It’s a sentiment shared by fellow AMIA member Jana Weltzin, a local lawyer who represents a number of the state’s commercial pot shops. She says clients called her left and right after hearing Spicer’s comments.

“I mean my phone’s been going off the hook with, ‘Oh my God, are we going to get shut down now because we don’t have a commercial marijuana system?’” Weltzin said. “’Are we wasting our money? What are we doing here?’”

With Alaska’s budding industry still in its earliest stages, “we get hiccups at every turn, we get people trying to slow the process down,” noted Weltzin.

But another hiccup is not what Alaska needs, she adds, especially in a budget crisis.

“As much as people want to say, ‘Oh it’ll never replace oil,” said Weltzin of the revenue marijuana brings in. “You’re right, but it’s also a drop in an empty bucket. And when you’re thirsty, half a cup will do when you have nothing in your cup.”

She says for now, the president’s threat to wage war against legal weed is just that – a threat, without action just yet.

In an email, Alaska’s Alcohol and Control Office says, for now, the state will continue to stick to its regulations for recreational marijuana.

“We will continue to keep an open line of communication with the federal government, Alaska’s congressional delegation, and licensees,” wrote acting division director Sara Chambers. “Any potential impact on the State’s marijuana licensees and market would be purely speculative.”

KTVA’s Sierra Starks contributed reporting.

Latest Stories

  • Suspect’s struggle over gun with Anchorage police leads to attempted-murder charges

    by Chris Klint on Jul 21, 8:51

    A man who Anchorage police say fired a gun during an altercation with two officers earlier this week has been arrested on a series of charges, including attempted murder. Court records show Pagopago Beefcake Lelilio, 29, also facing seven other counts of assault, weapons misconduct and reckless endangerment in the Wednesday encounter. A criminal complaint […]

  • Hawaii starting campaign to help people plan for North Korea attack

    by CBS News on Jul 21, 7:42

    HONOLULU — The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is kicking off an educational campaign aimed at helping residents and visitors figure out what to do if the state is targeted in a nuclear missile attack from North Korea, reports CBS Honolulu affiliate KGMB. The agency said the threat to the islands from the rogue nation is […]

  • Dirt at burned Juneau playground safe, city engineers say

    by Associated Press on Jul 21, 7:32

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – City engineers have determined the dirt at a Juneau playground that burned down in April is not contaminated. The Juneau Empire reported Thursday that after crews finished cleaning up the Twin Lakes Playground, city engineers tested the dirt and found it to be safe. The next step is reseeding the area […]

  • News

    1 dead in Glenn Highway wreck near Sutton

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jul 21, 6:24

    A driver was killed Thursday night during a single-vehicle crash on the Glenn Highway near Sutton, which remains under investigation by Alaska State Troopers. A brief online dispatch about the crash at Mile 68 of the Glenn, released early Friday, said troopers responded to the scene at about 10:15 p.m. Thursday. “Investigation revealed the vehicle […]

  • On-Air

    Reality Check: Sen. Murkowski vote to not repeal Obamacare

    by John Tracy on Jul 20, 22:58

    Senator Lisa Murkowski was one of three who said she would not vote to repeal Obamacare without a plan to replace it. Her party accused her of breaking the promise she made to repeal Obamacare. In this week’s Reality Check, John Tracy says Senator Murkowski is one of the few Senate Republicans keeping their promise […]

  • News

    Linda McMahon visits Alaska on her ‘Ignite’ tour

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jul 20, 22:29

    When you think of Alaska you may think oil — not so, says one of President Donald Trump’s cabinet members, who’s in Alaska touring small businesses. Linda McMahon is the head of the U.S. small business administration. Thursday, she visited 49th State Brewing Company in Anchorage. It’s part of her “Ignite” tour, visiting all 68 offices […]

  • News

    Woman thinks people who helped her get to the hospital likely stole her car

    by Steffi Lee on Jul 20, 22:24

    Jessica Clark says the people who helped her with her medical emergency, were likely the ones who drove off with her car. “I’m just grateful they took me to the hospital when they did,” she said. Clark said she pulled over late Tuesday night near Boniface Parkway when she started to realize she needed medical […]

  • News

    Anchorage could face $20 million deficit next year, city departments told to prepare for cuts

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jul 20, 21:44

    Anchorage could be looking at a budget deficit as high as $20 million next year, according to Municipal Management and Budget Director Lance Wilber. He said the number is still a guess, but city departments are being told to prepare for cuts. Wilber said he’s asked each department, with the exception of “first responders” (police […]