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Anchorage Assembly to finalize marijuana regulations at Tuesday meeting

The Anchorage Assembly will vote on two ordinances at a Tuesday meeting that will finalize marijuana regulations within the municipality. While both ordinances are expected to pass, lawmakers are less certain about which of the eight amendments will be included in the new regulations.

The first of the ordinances, Title 21, deals with zoning and land use. A major concern voiced at the municipality's last public hearing were the proposed buffer zones between schools and businesses selling marijuana. Currently, the ordinance sets the buffer at 1000 feet.

Federal law requires that drug-free school zones be placed 1,000 feet from schools and playgrounds. The state requirement however, is 500 feet.


Rise of legal marijuana sales opens new packaging markets

The founders of Kush Bottles Inc. developed packaging specifically for legal marijuana sales.

Plastic marijuana packaging has become, ah-hem, a growth industry.

With more than 40 percent of all states already allowing medical marijuana, and four of those also permitting recreational use, the packaging for Panama Red, Acapulco Gold and all those other colorfully named strains is heavily dependent on plastics.

Both flexible and rigid packaging helps keep the nation’s stash fresh for both the casual smoker in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska and medicinal users in 23 states.

And those packages aren’t just holding marijuana plants, as there are a whole host of edibles and concentrates for folks who don’t always, or ever, want to light up.


Alaska Governor signs marijuana regulations, but Department of Law warns of security gap

Lieutenant Gov. Byron Mallott signed Alaska’s first commercial marijuana regulations on Friday, but regulators and legislators now face a headache from the FBI.

In a memo dated Jan. 20, Senior Assistant Attorney General Steven Weaver wrote the executive director of the Alaska Marijuana Control Board to say that in order for the FBI to perform background checks on prospective marijuana entrepreneurs, the Alaska Legislature needs to pass a law requesting such checks.

According to the FBI’s interpretation of federal law, “specific authority (must) be expressed in a state statute to require fingerprinting and the use of Federal Bureau of Investigation records,” Weaver wrote.


Alaska city, Ketchikan, rejects marijuana business ban

The City of Ketchikan will not prohibit retail marijuana businesses within city limits.

The Ketchikan City Council, by a 3-2 count at its meeting Thursday night, voted down an ordinance in second reading that would have temporarily prohibited such businesses.

Council members Judy Zenge, KJ Harris and Julie Isom voted against the ordinance, while council members Bob Sivertsen and Dick Coose voted in favor. Council members Dave Kiffer and Janalee Gage were not at the meeting. Kiffer voted against the ordinance at the council’s Jan. 7 meeting but had previously supported prohibition, while Gage voted in favor of prohibition both earlier this month and in late 2015.


Alaska: Marijuana Task Force passes recommendations

Aspiring marijuana businesses in the Kenai Peninsula Borough may face only a few additional requirements on top of the state’s regulations.

After many months of deliberation, many amendments and dozens of public comments, the borough’s Marijuana Task Force arrived at a set of recommendations for the borough assembly at its Wednesday meeting.

The requirements the task force members changed were to increase the setback for marijuana establishments from schools, increase the number of hours retail stores must be closed for business and specify that the only prohibited odor outside marijuana establishments is that of marijuana itself.


Alaska: Building space scarce for Anchorage marijuana business

The marijuana industry will have a tough time finding willing landlords for their would-be dispensaries and cultivation facilities, and the Anchorage Assembly may tighten restrictions even further.


Draft Anchorage marijuana license rules ban marijuana use in retail stores

A ban on marijuana bars and social clubs and random marijuana testing for pesticides or other harmful substances at retail stores are among the more contentious elements of Anchorage’s draft cannabis business license regulations released this week.

Anchorage officials have been developing a local license for marijuana businesses as a way to give local government more control over enforcement. But industry leaders have said a local license would be redundant to a state license and overly burdensome, and have promised to fight it in the coming weeks.


Alaska oil tax could raise as much as marijuana with prolonged $35 price

When Gov. Frank Murkowski stepped before the Legislature in 2003, facing a $500 million shortfall, he announced: “What is our plan for increasing revenue? Well, ladies and gentlemen, in a single word, ‘oil.'”

In time, that single word did lead to higher revenue, but not because of higher oil production. Alaska raised oil taxes just before worldwide conditions produced price increases that no one believed possible.

As Murkowski gave way to successors Sarah Palin and Sean Parnell, the state treasury filled with the billions that are now draining at thousands of dollars an hour with nothing to stem the flow.


Cannabis Coffeeshops Set To Open in Alaska

Most people in the world are familiar with Amsterdam's coffeeshop; where cannabis can be bought and smoked without fear of arrest (and if you don't you're on the right site!), however the same type of experience could soon be available in the USA.

In Alaska adult use of cannabis is already legal, the third state to do so. Alaskans 21 and older can possess up to one ounce of cannabis, grow up to six marijuana plants (with no more than three flowering), as well as being able to possess any amount of cannabis produced by those plants! This came into effect on February 24, 2015.


Anchorage voters to consider marijuana retail sales tax in April

The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday night approved a ballot measure that will ask voters in April whether marijuana retail sales should be taxed, starting at 5 percent.  

The ballot measure would authorize the Assembly to increase the tax up to 12 percent without going back to voters again, but only once every two years and by a maximum of 2 percent each time. For the first three years, the revenue would fall outside the city tax cap.

After nearly an hour of debate, the Assembly voted 9-2 to approve the measure, with Patrick Flynn and Amy Demboski in opposition.

During the hearing, several industry representatives voiced concern about the structure of the tax and the city’s assumptions about needing a tax to cover enforcement costs.


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