Alaska regulators will hold a public hearing on Wednesday to discuss a proposal to allow on-site social marijuana use at licensed facilities.
Supporters and opponents will take turns weighing in on the proposal, which is being backed by national pro-legalization group Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).
Advocates argue that Alaska’s current regulations concerning where adults can use cannabis are excessively restrictive, prohibiting consumption outside of a private residence. They’re working to convince the state’s Marijuana Control Board to give the industry some of the freedoms available to bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.
The proposed regulation would allow marijuana retailers to apply to obtain an “endorsement” enabling them to sell up to one gram of cannabis and edibles containing up to 10mg of THC to be consumed on-site at the facility. There would be tight regulations on security, ventilation and promotions.
Per MPP, other regulations would include:
-No visible smoke may exit the building.
-No detectible odor beyond the property line.
-Air handling equipment must convey air outside and use a filter.
-Nuisance provisions to help protect neighbors.
Individual jurisdictions within the state would be able to effectively opt out of the social use policy.
While the majority of states now have some form of legal cannabis laws on the books, whether for medical or recreational use, social use areas remain largely prohibited—with a few local jurisdictional exceptions like Denver, where voters approved a ballot measure on the topic, and San Francisco, which has some medical cannabis dispensaries that allow on-site consumption.
Alaska would become the first state in the country to proactively permit on-site consumption if the board ultimately allows retailers to obtain these endorsements.
It’s been a long time coming for Alaska. This hearing marks one of the last stages before the board decides whether or not to adopt the proposed regulations. A public comment period was extended earlier this year to solicit public input on the proposal.