On-Site Consumption Regulations Pushed back to Ensure Sound Legislature

    Juneau, AK (KINY) - The Alcohol and Marijuana Control Board wrapped up their latest meeting. One of the items on the agenda was addressing the on-site use of cannabis.

    There may have been too much on that agenda.

    Erika McConnell, the Director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Board Office gave us a summary on the current state of on-site marijuana consumption regulations and how that meeting went.

    "They did not get to that. By the time the meeting ended, they ran out of time to complete their agenda, but before the meeting ended they did pass a motion to create a subcommittee of the board to work on issues that were raised by both myself and in the public comments on the draft regulation to address those issues in the subcommittee and then bring a report back to the board at their board meeting in April."

    McConnell said that there were more than 500 comments on the proposed draft from members of the public, which will take quite a while to sort, but she did mention some of the specific issues she had with the draft.

    "It included some confusion about whether or not there would be permitted to be an outside consumption area. There was some lack of clarity in whether or not local governments could entirely opt out of having on-site consumption endorsements in their community."

    Whether the marijuana that is to be consumed in the on-site consumption area has to be purchased at the time of consumption or supposed to be purchased from the location where it is, but can you buy something at that store and then bring it in a week later to consume on the site? Is there allowed to be a separate entrance into the on-site consumption area or does it have to be that entry is from within the rest of the retail store? Those are some of the questions that I had."

    We also asked her if current alcohol regulations were shaping the direction of marijuana laws.

    "I would say that this is a different beast. There are definitely things about the regulation of marijuana and alcohol that are similar, but then there are things that are very different. Consumption on-site of alcohol is extremely common and they’re entire license types that are devoted to that such as bar licenses, beverage dispensary licenses, and restaurant or eating place licenses. The whole point is to allow people to consume on-site."

    "Whereas marijuana none of the four existing license types allow for any sort of on-site consumption, and of course there's no public consumption, so that does limit consumption to people’s private spaces. So, it is really a totally different animal."

    The Board did seem keen on keeping the prohibition of THC concentrated products at these on-site locations.

    "One thing that the board has included in the current draft of the regulations is that the on-site consumption of concentrates would be prohibited so that you would only be able to consume bud and flower through smoking or edibles, which have a THC limit on the each serving of the edible."

    McConnell wanted to stress that the Board is taking its time to get things right the first time.

    "The Board is very interested in crafting reasonable and well thought-out and effective regulations. I know there is some concern among people who are very interested in having this available, that the board is taking too long and there's another delay and I just feel that the board is trying to get this right. They're not delaying for delaying sake, but they're trying to do the hard work and pointing out that there really isn't any other place in the country that has figured out how to deal with this."

    The next meeting will be held in April. The newly formed subcommittee will be presenting a report for further work on the regulations.


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