On-site consumption not dead for Alaska marijuana retailers

Published: Feb. 3, 2017 at 8:24 PM AKST
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State officials are saying a recent decision by the Marijuana Control Board does not block pot retailers from obtaining approval to allow onsite consumption at their stores.

an existing state law allows customers to consume marijuana at state-approved retailers. But in order to obtain authorization, pot shops have to submit an operating plan that meets ventilation requirements and other health and safety standards which haven’t yet been clearly defined.

The Marijuana Control Board on Thursday considered a proposal that would clarify those regulatory standards. However, the proposal was rejected by a 3-2 vote. That means it’s still unclear what exactly retailers need to do to get state approval for on-site cannabis consumption.

But according to Sara Chambers, acting division chief of the Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office, the board’s decision does not prevent retailers from submitting an operating plan anyway.

“Their decision yesterday on relevant proposed regulations does not preclude the board from approving operating plans including onsite consumption,” Chambers wrote in a Friday press release clarifying the board’s decision. “It merely ceased the current proposal to clarify those standards in regulation at this time.”

The board is also able to evaluate and even approve applications for onsite consumption, however Chambers says it is unlikely to do so until the regulatory standards have been set and a transparent review process has been established.

“They do have the ability to approve or deny should they wish to,” Chambers told Channel 2. “While they have the authority, it’s unclear whether they will take advantage of that immediately or whether they will move forward in a different manner.”

Chambers added that the MCB will likely consider another proposal for onsite consumption standards in the near future. If a proposal makes it past the board, retailers who have already applied for on-site consumption licenses will be able to amend their operating plans to fit the requirements of the new regulations.