Onsite consumption likely still distant for Anchorage

Published: Jan. 24, 2020 at 10:22 PM AKST
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The State Marijuana Control Board approved the first two businesses in the state for onsite consumption, but Anchorage shops will need more than just the state to sign off.

“The state law requires that where there's a local licensing regime in place, any kind of marijuana-oriented business has to receive both a local license and a state license," said Municipal Attorney Becky Windt Pearson.

at approved businesses in June.

“We, at this point, do not permit consumption by inhalation at a retail establishment,” Windt Pearson said. “But that is the question that will be sent to the voters that the assembly has voted to send to the voters in April."

The proposition would amend the city's indoor smoking ban, and several other sections of city code, to carve a spot for smoking at approved shops.

“We currently have no legal place to smoke marijuana for a lot of people,” said Assembly Member Forrest Dunbar, one of the sponsors of the ordinance to put the question on the ballot. “You know, for renters, or for visitors, you can't smoke it outside, in distinction from tobacco."

But without state approval, even edibles are off the menu.

“The fact that we, our code change may have happened before endorsements were issued by the state means that nothing could happen until both alternatives were an option for an individual establishment," Windt Pearson said.

Even if the proposition passes, businesses will still have a high bar to reach to get approved.

“They still have to go through that process at the state and at the municipality, and come to the Assembly,” Dunbar said. “And we think that, given how stringent our regulations are, there are going to be relatively few places that can actually do this.”

Regardless of the proposition, the Assembly hasn’t approved any businesses for onsite edibles yet, and the only two businesses approved by the state are in Ketchikan and Fairbanks, so it’s likely that onsite consumption for Anchorage is still a ways off.

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