Federal rules, Alaska state caution stymie cannabis investments

Alaska’s forthcoming cannabis regulations might stop homegrown bud businesses from seeing a dime from the hot-ticket marijuana investment scene developing in the Lower 48.

Outside investment raises both industry and regulatory hackles in the Alaska cannabis scene, either as the surefire road to a federal crackdown or the harbinger of boutique-killing Big Marijuana, depending on who is asked.

Due to federal law, Alaska banks and credit unions refuse to handle cannabis-related accounts or loans. Cannabis businesses without their own startup capital have few options for funding beyond bootstrapping or borrowing from private lenders.

With potentially high entry costs, already-wealthy Alaskans could dominate cannabis business while smaller competitors scrabble for startup capital.

Outside investment could narrow the gap, but also bring in big competitors in the $3 billion cannabis industry.

Regulators, however, are fearful of violating federal money laundering guidelines, and view Outside investment dollars as a possible route for dirty...

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