Alaska approves rules for consuming marijuana at pot stores
The state of Alaska has approved on-site consumption rules for marijuana in the state’s pot stores, after extensive debate over their details in recent months.
Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer signed off Tuesday on regulations allowing marijuana stores to seek an additional on-site consumption endorsement. The proposed rules, which would allow customers to use 1 gram of cannabis or 10 mg of edibles at a shop per day, were approved in December by the state Marijuana Control Board.
Under the regulations, posted online Tuesday by the state, stores would pay a $1,000 fee to apply for an on-site endorsement and $600 to apply for a renewal. The endorsement would also carry a $2,000 annual fee.
A memo outlining the changes from the state Department of Law says that any on-site consumption would have to occur in a freestanding building, with separate ventilation but accessible only through a secure door to the rest of the store.
THC is the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high. Under the rules, stores may not sell THC concentrates for on-site consumption, employees may not consume on-site and customers may not use marijuana products purchased off-site or tobacco.
The expanded regulations bar stores from allowing “intoxicated or drunken” customers to enter or remain on their premises. In addition, stores may not offer “happy hour” or “in-house” discounts, “all-you-can-eat” deals or games that involve consuming pot or offer it as prizes.
Jake Warden, the general manager for Cannabaska, said he's planning to renovate their store on Tudor and will add an on-site room to a new shop they're setting up downtown.
Warden said legalizing on-site consumption means tourists will have a place to sample Alaska's marijuana. He said that would bring in even more business.
"Now your hotels are more attractive in that area. Now you're going to want to have shops and restaurants that are better," Warden said. "So you can take a location downtown that has a hotel and an on-site consumption area and it's going to change that entire block, maybe two blocks. The industry, we are behind it. We're so behind it."
Local governments would still have a role under the state regulations, and could opt out of on-site consumption entirely in the same way Alaska’s “dry” villages bar local alcohol sales. Governments could also ban only certain types of products from being consumed on-site, or hold a specific shop’s on-site consumption endorsement if it has a retail store license.
The new regulations will take effect April 11.
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