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Marijuana Control Board approves licenses for 10 testing, cultivation facilities

(KTUU)
Published: Jun. 9, 2016 at 7:48 AM AKDT
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UPDATE 8:40 p.m.
By Dan Carpenter / KTUU

By the end of the day, the Marijuana Control Board had approved two testing facility applications and eight standard marijuana cultivation facilities.

Four applications were tabled until later meetings including three for business planning to locate in the Mat-Su Valley. The Mat-Su borough has placed a temporary moratorium on considering applications until after an October vote to possibly ban cannabis businesses in unincorporated areas of the borough.

The board will continue where it left of at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning considering another 19 applications.

The first cultivator to have an application approved was Mike Emers with Rosie Creek Farm outside of Fairbanks.

“Two years ago we were looking at our business plan and decided we need a crop that was giving us more money per row foot,” said Emers.

He says a lot was riding on Thursday’s decision because his crop will be grown outside with a limited growing season.

“We’re hopeful we can start off this industry on the right foot and make the state proud,” said Emers who has only grown organic produce and flowers for the past 20 years.

James Barrett plans to open Rainforest Farms with his brother in Juneau.

“Right now it’s just a couple building permits for some walls and then a sign off form the state and we’re good to go so it could be a matter of weeks before we’re putting the seeds into the soil,” said Barrett.

The Director of the Marijuana Control Board Cynthia Franklin says some applications were approved with delegation, meaning several steps still need to be completed before a license is issued.

“From here on out it’s a very staggered process. There’s no one date where we can say definitively this business is going to be ready on this one date,” said Franklin.

UPDATE: 2:20 p.m.:
By Associated Press

Alaska regulators have approved the state's first license for a legal marijuana business.

Approval of the application by CannTest LLC of Anchorage, a marijuana testing facility, was met by applause and cheers during the Marijuana Control Board meeting in Anchorage. The approval is subject to the completion of local processes.

The application was among 30 up for consideration by the board, and the first taken up.

The board hasn't been able to have national criminal history background checks run while waiting to see whether a bill passed by the Legislature authorizing those checks will be signed into law. But it decided to move ahead with considering applications in the meantime.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Alaska regulators are poised to award the first licenses for legal marijuana businesses in the state, another milestone for the fledgling industry.

Thursday's meeting agenda for the Marijuana Control Board includes 30 applications that will be up for consideration, two of which are for testing facilities. The rest are for grow operations.

The board has taken a staggered approach to licensing, focusing first on grow and testing facilities to help ensure there will be legally grown marijuana available for when the first retail stores are authorized.

Cynthia Franklin, director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office, has said that a crop life is estimated at 90 days, and regulators are looking at September to begin issue retail licenses.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)