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Alaska to Become the First State With Legal Cannabis Cafés

Alaska is poised to become the first U.S. state to allow cannabis consumption in businesses open to the public. The Alaska Marijuana Board has been hard at work drafting regulations, and cafes could become part of Alaska's cannabis culture as soon as this summer.

Clubs for medical patients in Alaska have existed in a legal gray area for some time and began springing up after the state legalized medical marijuana in 1998. The medical rules were ambiguous, and combined with a lack of regulatory oversight allowed social clubs with onsite consumption to fly under the radar. They operate in a sort of loophole: Patients in Alaska are allowed to grow cannabis and consume it in private, which proponents say allows for clubs open only to members, not the public.

Law enforcement and other authorities allowed the clubs to exist presumably because the state never established a clear system for medical...

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