Lawmakers in Anchorage recently passed new rules that will significantly impact the state’s cannabis industry. On Feb. 9, the assembly discussed 20 different measures on cannabis, and the result is a long list of very detailed restrictions.
From the cost of a cannabis business application, to the proximity of a pot shop to a school, it seems as though the lawmakers created a restriction on every aspect of the industry.
Assemble Member Bill Evans of South Anchorage is worried that the rules support limitation rather than liberalism.
“Some people have an over-abundance of caution when it comes to marijuana, and are trying to restrict it as much as they can,” Evans said.
Many of the restrictions are focused around land-use. Now cannabis businesses will have to be at a minimum of 500 feet from schools, churches and other sensitive establishments.
Other restrictions include small-scale growers in residential neighborhoods will not be allowed to sell cannabis products commercially, and now police officers are allowed to be present during facility inspections.
Evans and many other Alaskan cannabis supporters left the Assembly meeting feeling unsatisfied.
“We have such limited land available for this industry,” Evans said. “Every one of these restrictions make things more expensive, and makes the chance of success for a legitimate industry replacing the black market that much harder.”
Kim Kole, a member of the Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Legislation, has plans to apply for a business license that will allow her customers to use their cannabis products in her shop–where they purchased them.
But, the lawmakers declined to pass a specific grant for on-site consumption, thus leaving Kole with uncertainty on the local rules. She is going to move forward with her plan with the hope that lawmakers will soon redraft a restriction that will allow on-site consumption.
“And if they don’t then I will have a really big retail or, I dunno, I will have to revamp from there, I guess,” Kole said.
Kole, Evans and many other folks are worried these restrictions will have a negative impact on the local cannabis industry, but overall, they are trying to make the best of the situation.
“That is one of the things I was told before I got into this: You have to be flexible,” said Kole.