Pot industry questions Dunleavy crime bills' impact on growers
The marijuana industry is voicing concern over one of Gov. Mike Dunleavy's proposed crime reform bills, but state officials say it's not an issue.
Senate Bill 32 includes language that would make it a felony to possess 25 or more cannabis plants, including hemp, or more than four ounces of marijuana with an intent to manufacture or deliver.
Cary Carrigan, the executive director of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, says there are currently no exemptions to the bill for legal marijuana. He says many small cannabis businesses owners are now worrying about their future.
“I know cultivators who have 800 plants. Where are they going to go? Straight into the new prisons that they are going to build?” Carrigan said. “There are just a lot of reasons that this is not right, and it just does not reflect any indication from this administration that they want to work with the industry and they want to keep it healthy and keep the tax revenues coming in.”
However, John Skidmore, director of the Alaska Department of Law's Criminal Division, says legal marijuana businesses have nothing to worry about.
SB32 deals with a number of drug provisions and readjusts classification of certain drug crimes, and he says no part of the bill affects the legalization of marijuana in the state.
“SB32 does not in any way reverse what the public said in the initiative to legalize marijuana,” Skidmore said. “Recreational marijuana use is still legal, (and) would be legal now in the same way that it would if SB32 passes.”
Skidmore says confusion around SB32 and false rumors about effects on the legal marijuana industry stem from failure to read the statutes in totality and understand how criminal law works.
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