Juneau bill would allow marijuana cafes in dispensaries

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The city could become one of the few in the country to authorize the activity

Juneau, AK is considering allowing cannabis users to consume inside businesses such as retail dispensaries. A measure is being considered by the city that would open the doors to the activity, but there is still a significant amount of resistance.

Alaska is set to introduce new statewide cannabis regulations tomorrow. Those regulations will allow businesses to begin applying for on-site consumption approval, but only if the local government authorizes it. Currently, there are seven cannabis stores in Juneau.

The manager of Alaskan Kush Company, Amy Herrick, believes the indoor cafés would be beneficial to all consumers, but adds, “Unfortunately, there is no place that they can legally consume, so we have to advise them that they cannot legally consume in public.”

City Attorney Robert Palmer understands that the restrictions make it difficult for tourists and visitors, as their options for trying local products are limited. He explains, “The city understands that there are many people that come off of cruise ships or that come to town that want to consider consuming marijuana, and I think the Assembly understood those concerns and is trying to find and strike an appropriate balance.”

Marijuana was added to Juneau’s indoor public smoking ban in 2015. That move followed a statewide vote that approved recreational marijuana, but city officials assert that they won’t approve the lounges until there is more data on the effects of secondhand marijuana smoke.

Until then smoking marijuana will only be legal in private residences.