Mat-Su Assembly resolution urges standardization of marijuana DUI criteria

Resolution 23-004 passed in Tuesday’s regular assembly meeting
Resolution 23-004 passed in Tuesday’s regular assembly meeting
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 6:12 PM AKST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2023 at 6:14 PM AKST
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaskan voters approved the legalization of marijuana in 2014, but uncertainty still remains as to how driving under the influence is enforced. According to the Department of Public Health, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal and unsafe, but there is no legal limit set for impairment.

Matanuska-Susistna Borough Assemblymembers Tim Hale and Rob Yundt co-sponsored Resolution 23-004 at Tuesday’s regular assembly meeting. The resolution asks the State of Alaska to adopt a standard for operating a vehicle while under the influence of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Though it did pass during the assembly’s meeting, it’s not necessarily a guarantee that lawmakers will address it during the legislative session.

“It’s symbolic in a way, but it does let the legislature ― our legislators ― know what we want,” Hale said. “It also gives some direction to our lobbyists, who work off that list as far as trying to accomplish things.”

One of those legislators that will be representing House District 28 in Juneau this year is Jesse Sumner, who spoke against the resolution during his last regular borough meeting.

“We’re asking to criminalize something that, to my knowledge, is not a large problem,” Sumner stated in the meeting before voting against the resolution.

According to Hale, having the state set a standard for enforcement offers Valley-based cannabis shops an opportunity to allow on-site consumption.

“Right now, there is no legal place for a tourist to consume the cannabis that they buy in Alaska,” Hale said. “This is a way to address that issue and also to keep our businesses competitive with the other businesses in the state.”