Alaska approves on-site marijuana consumption

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The state becomes the first in the U.S. to legalize on-site consumption

As the marijuana industry in the U.S. continues to evolve, another first has now taken place. Alaska lawmakers have approved, and the state’s lieutenant governor has signed, a bill that allows adults 21 years old or older to purchase and consume marijuana in licensed dispensaries. The state is the first in the U.S. to explicitly allow the activity.

California and Colorado (specifically, Denver) have relaxed laws that have turned a blind eye to on-site consumption, but Alaska has become the only state to do so. Lieutenant Governor Kevin Meyer signed the bill into law yesterday and retail businesses in the state can officially apply for a “special onsite use endorsement” to their license starting April 11.

In speaking to the Associated Press, Cary Carrigan, the executive director of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, stated, “This is something that’s not happening anywhere else in the U.S. yet. As we start to develop this, people are really looking at us, so I know that everybody wants to get it right.”

Consumption areas, under the new law, will need to be physically separated from retail spaces. This separation can be a secure door, a wall or even an outdoor patio and businesses will need to provide adequate ventilation and security plans for the facilities. The law further allows local governments to opt out and create their own restrictions if they don’t want on-site consumption; however, it isn’t known if any jurisdictions are considering this option.

The date for the new lounges to be open isn’t clear, but it most likely won’t happen before the middle of July.