Alaska could be close to making marijuana history. More specifically, it could soon become the first state to allow for on-site cannabis consumption at dispensaries. State lawmakers are currently looking at a bill that would make this type of on-site consumption legal. But given that the bill is still in the early stages of legislation, it’s unclear whether or not on-site consumption will become a reality.
Alaska Considering New Marijuana Laws
Yesterday, lawmakers in Alaska approved rules that could allow people to legally consume weed at state-approved dispensaries.
Before the proposal becomes law it still needs to pass through a few other rounds of review and approval. Most notably, the Alaska Department of Law will need to do a thorough review of the new rules.
But if the bill is eventually passed into law it will introduce a number of new changes. For starters, dispensaries that receive state and local approval will be allowed to have a separate space set aside for consumption.
Customers will then be able to go the shop, purchase weed or other weed products, and then consume their purchases in the consumption space.
At this point, the proposal would allow dispensaries to establish separate consumption rooms. Additionally, weed shops could also allow customers to smoke weed or consume edibles in outdoor spaces like rooftops or patios.
If the bill passes into law, Alaska will be the first state to establish a legal framework for on-site dispensary consumption. Currently, there are certain locations in different parts of the country that allow for on-site consumption. But nothing at the statewide level.
Regulations and Restrictions for On-Site Consumption
Of course, as with any cannabis regulations, the new laws come with a number of new regulations and requirements. For starters, shops will be required to apply for a special license for on-site consumption.
In order to receive approval, dispensaries must meet the following requirements:
- Consumption spaces must be separated from the retail portion of the shop.
- Customers will only be allowed to consume products purchased at that dispensary.
- Customers who want to consume at the shop can only purchase up to one gram of flower or edibles with no more than 10 mg of THC.
- Shops must have a smoke-free room where employees can monitor consumption spaces.
- Outdoor consumption places must not interfere with neighboring buildings.
- Indoor consumption rooms must have their own ventilation systems.
- The scent of weed cannot reach beyond the shop’s property line.
Even though the new bill is being considered at the state level, USA Today reports that local jurisdictions will still be able to ban on-site consumption. Additionally, local governments can also institute their own specific requirements or restrictions.
Currently, there are 76 cannabis retail shops in Alaska. At this point, it’s unclear how many of those shops might choose to apply for an on-site consumption license.
Either way, the question of on-site consumption has been on the table for a while now in Alaska. The issue first picked up traction in 2016. Then, last year, the idea was abandoned.
But this time around things could be different. At least for now, the bill for on-site consumption has cleared its first legislative hurdle. It will now move on to additional reviews by multiple lawmaking bodies.