On-site consumption now possible at Alaska dispensaries

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Alaska is taking a huge step forward with cannabis consumption in public venues

Like any new legislation that becomes active in a jurisdiction, there are many details that will arise as an issue during the different periods after the legislation’s launch. Alaska was one of the four states that legalized cannabis first and it has been running around with an amendment to this legislation that favors local businesses to allow on-site cannabis consumption. Even if it took years to get here, the Marijuana Control Board finally voted 3-2 in favor and the first dispensary already received approval, Cannabis Corner near Ketchikan and GoodSinse in Fairbanks.

“I don’t see it being something that starts proliferating heavily. But it’s for sure something that should exist, and there should be options for social consumption, particularly because public consumption is still illegal,” said Morgan Fox, a spokesman for the National Cannabis Industry Association, last Friday. This provision talks about a separated lounge in which smoking is possible but needs to have a secure door and ventilation system, or it can be outdoors as well. Another condition is that the products consumed need to be purchased at that same dispensary as it is not a bring-your-own -product deal. Also, in this proposal, smoke-free areas need to be set for employees in which the consumption can be monitored.

It is not the first initiative in the country to allow consumption, but it is the first one to ever consider dispensaries to allow using cannabis. Other places like Denver have a different view as the local social use initiative was passed. “This is historic in my mind,” Daniel Peters, a co-owner of GoodSinse, said in an interview, adding that they hope to be open by summer. “This is a really big milestone … when you’re trying to bring normalcy to something in a new industry.”