Alaska appoints top cannabis regulator

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has appointed an Anchorage planning official to lead the state’s Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office and the Marijuana Control Board.

Erika McConnell, who will start in late March, has worked for the city since 2003 in various roles, most recently in the Office of Economic and Community Development, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported.


Spring 2017 MJBizCon
While in that role, she had some oversight of Anchorage’s alcohol licensing and created the city’s marijuana land-use code.

However, her cannabis record in Anchorage appears…

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America’s marijuana industry headed for $24 billion by 2025, report says

The latest gaze into the crystal ball puts the U.S. marijuana industry north of $24 billion by 2025.

New Frontier Data, a cannabis market research and analytics firm, gave The Cannabist a first look at its 2017 annual report, which aims to track the long-term potential for the industry. The report acknowledges external factors such as federal rescheduling or a full-scale crackdown could shake up the near-term.

By mapping out state-by-state sales to $24.5 billion in 2025 and projecting that…

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Alaska spikes plan for cannabis use at rec stores

In what was described as a “surprise” move by at least one local report, Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board on Thursday night jettisoned a proposal that would have allowed cannabis consumption at recreational marijuana retail shops.

The 3-2 vote to abandon the plan reflected fears that Jeff Sessions, President Trump’s choice for U.S. attorney general, could crack down on legalized recreational marijuana programs, the Alaska Dispatch News reported. Sessions has been an outspoken critic of marijuana use.

If the proposal had gone…

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Alaska’s top cannabis regulator is resigning

Alaska’s top cannabis official, Cynthia Franklin, is stepping down from her post to take another job in the state government.

Franklin said Jan. 6 will be her last day as director of Alaska’s Alcohol & Marijuana Control office (AMCO), according to Alaska Public Media.

In 2014, she was appointed head of the Alcoholic Beverages Control Board, which morphed into the AMCO after Alaskans passed a recreational cannabis referendum on Nov. 4 of that year.


Marijuana Business License Directory
Franklin, who has been an attorney since 1989, will next serve as assistant attorney…

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Free samples stall Anchorage rec marijuana store’s opening

The Anchorage Assembly has postponed the opening of what would have been the city’s first recreational marijuana shop, alleging that the store owner violated state laws by giving away free samples.

Assembly members unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday night to suspend final inspections that are required for Arctic Herbery to open for business, according to Alaska Public Media. The assembly passed the resolution after the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office issued two violations in two weeks against store owner Bryant Thorp for handing…

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First Retail Marijuana Store Opens in Alaska

Alaska reached yet another historic milestone on Saturday, October 29, when the state’s first marijuana retailer opened in Valdez. This week, Fairbanks’ first marijuana stores open, while Anchorage’s first store is expected to open in early November.ak-seal

Some supporters have wondered why it has taken nearly two years for retail marijuana to become available after 53.2% of Alaska voters approved the legalization initiative on Nov 4, 2014. But, considering the decades of fighting against marijuana prohibition, what has happened in the…

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First AK rec marijuana shop opens to long line; another bid nixed

Alaska’s first recreational marijuana store opened Saturday with dozens waiting in line in the rain, one day after the state’s cannabis licensing board for the first time rejected a retail license application amid concerns over an out-of-state company’s stake in the business.

Herbal Outfitters opened in Valdez at noon local time Saturday, almost two years after voters in the state gave their OK to legalize recreational marijuana.


Conference Deadline Approaching
Herbal Outfitters owner Rick Ballow is a Valdez native who returned from Arizona for the opportunity to…

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Report: Tax Revenue From Retail Marijuana Sales Exceeds Expectations

marijuana money - istock

WASHINGTON, DC — Tax revenue collection from retail marijuana sales in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington is exceeding initial projections, according to a report published by the Drug Policy Alliance.

The DPA study finds that marijuana-related tax revenue in Colorado totaled $129 million over the 12-month period ending May 31, 2016 – well exceeding initial estimates of $70 million per year. In Washington, tax revenue totaled $220 million for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2016….

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So Far, So Good: What We Know About Marijuana Legalization in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington D.C.

3D Cannabis retail marijuana packaging

As Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada prepare to vote on marijuana legalization next month, all eyes are on the initial outcomes of those states that have already legalized marijuana. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two U.S. states – and the first two jurisdictions in the world – to approve ending marijuana prohibition and legally regulating marijuana production, distribution and sales. In the 2014 election, Alaska and Oregon followed…

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Alaska’s recreational cannabis market just weeks from debut

alaska marijuana

By John Schroyer

The fourth recreational marijuana market in the United States is nearly here.

Alaska’s adult-use industry is just a few weeks from the first retail sales, according to estimates by multiple sources. The first rec shop, Frozen Budz, could open in Fairbanks before the end of the month.

The last hurdle is that local and state authorities must clear testing labs to open so cultivators can have their crops checked for potency and microbial contaminants. After that, growers will be allowed to begin supplying retailers, the first…

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Report: Marijuana Legalization Has Had “Minimal” Adverse Impact On Health

Report: Marijuana Legalization Has Had “Minimal” Adverse Impact On Health

WASHINGTON, DC — The enactment of laws regulating the adult use, production, and retail sale of cannabis in four states has had negligible, if any, adverse impact on overall health and safety, according to an analysis commissioned by the CATO Institute – a Washington, DC think-tank.

Researchers from Harvard University and Western Carolina University assessed the impact of marijuana legalization laws in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington on a variety of health and safety outcomes, including drug use, suicide rates, substance abuse…

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First Cannabis Harvest Underway in Alaska

The first legal commercial marijuana harvests have commenced in Alaska, meaning the state is one step closer to kicking off the latest adult-use cannabis market in this country.

At least seven of the 12 licensed cultivators in the state have begun harvesting their grows for soon-to-open rec shops, according to the Alaska Dispatch News. Some began harvesting up to a month ago, the paper reported.

License Directory SidebarThose cultivators which look like they’ll be first to market include Greatland Ganja, Rosie Creek Farm, Subsistence Products, Pakalolo Supply Co.,…

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Week in Review: Michigan Medical Cannabis Firms in Limbo, MA to the Rescue, Alaska Crawls Ahead

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By John Schroyer and Omar Sacirbey

Michigan medical marijuana businesses ponder their future under a new regulatory system, Massachusetts hopes to jump-start its MMJ program, and Alaska’s rec rollout proceeds at a snail’s pace.

Here’s a closer look at some notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

Mulling Michigan

Michigan’s MMJ businesses wonder how life will change after lawmakers approved a statewide regulatory system for the industry. Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign the legislation.

What is clear: The…

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Regulator Expects Alaska’s Rec MJ Sales to Begin By February

Alaska’s top marijuana regulator predicted that recreational marijuana will be available for public purchase in the state by next February.

But Alaska cannabis entrepreneurs are unhappy with that timeline, noting it’s been two years since the state’s voters approved adult-use marijuana, Alaska Public Media reported.

MJBizCrashCourse“I believe that by the time we arrive at February 2017 we will have stores that are operating; we will have product manufacturers that are making products, which have been individually approved by this board – which is…

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Prominent Travel Writer: ‘Get Ready’ for Age of MJ Tourism

One of the most well-known travel writers in the world, Arthur Frommer, predicted recently that cannabis tourism is going to become big business after the November election, when up to five more states could legalize recreational use.

If accurate, marijuana tourism would present additional opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on the legalization of marijuana.

“The prospects seem strong that marijuana is now about to be added to beer and wine as a permissible product to order,” Frommer wrote in a column last week, the…

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Alaska Regulators Approve First Retail Rec Marijuana License

Alaska regulators have begun approving the first retail marijuana licenses under the state’s recreational cannabis law.

Frozen Budz, the first establishment, will be located in Fairbanks, the Associated Press reported. Frozen Budz’s co-owner, Destiny Neade, hopes to open her shop by about Oct. 1, assuming she can source enough marijuana from growers.

MJBizCrashCourseThe Marijuana Control Board began approving cultivation and testing licenses in June, with the aim of getting growers and testing labs up and running before retailers, in the hopes of…

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Alaska Issues First Marijuana Business License

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board issued the state’s first retail business license on September 9, reaching yet another milestone in the rollout of the voter-approved program. Frozen Budz, which plans to make cannabis-infused products in Fairbanks, received Alaska’s first retail license.ak-seal

Many other applications remain under consideration, and the review process for other retail businesses continues, if slower than many expected.

In addition, despite the board’s assurances earlier this year, it has not adopted rules or considered…

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AK Board Set To Approve First Rec Marijuana Retailers, Manufacturers

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board is meeting today and tomorrow to approve what will be the first licenses for recreational marijuana retailers and manufacturing facilities in the state.

According to the board’s agenda, nearly 20 retail stores are listed for review, broadcaster KTVA reported.

MJBizCrashCourseThe Marijuana Control Board is expected to consider dozens of other marijuana business license applications as well, and debate whether certain retail stores will be allowed to have areas on their premises where customers can consume their cannabis,…

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Anchorage Cannabis Rep Fills AK Regulatory Board Vacancy

The chair of the Anchorage Cannabis Business Association is joining Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board, filling a four-week-old vacancy and bringing a second industry representative to the regulatory body.

Nick Miller, who plans to open a recreational store in Anchorage, was appointed by Governor Bill Walker, according to the Alaska Journal. Walker fired Miller’s predecessor, former board chairman Bruce Schulte, on July 29.

Schulte, after he was removed, accused Walker and his administration of deliberately trying to sabotage the state’s…

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Week in Review: Big Legal Victory, Nervous Credit Union & Unrequited Love in MA

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By Omar Sacirbey and John Schroyer

The marijuana industry scores a big legal victory, a credit union in Alaska gets cold feet, and a Massachusetts city nixes a controversial business deal with a medical cannabis dispensary.

Here’s a closer look at some notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

A Big Win … For Now

A federal appeals court in San Francisco this week sided with the legal marijuana industry against the U.S. Department of Justice, ruling the federal government couldn’t spend money to prosecute…

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Alaska Credit Union Ending Ties With MJ-Related Accounts

A federally chartered credit union in Alaska has moved to sever ties with 10 personal accounts linked to individuals launching cannabis-related businesses.

The decision by the Alaska USA Federal Credit Union underscores the hurdles marijuana entrepreneurs continue to face when dealing with banks and credit unions. Alaska’s new recreational MJ market is attracting prospective entrants.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported the credit union took the unusual step of breaking ties with the personal account holders as a preemptive move – one…

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Alaska Board Accused of Undermining Marijuana Program

Members of Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board and some officials in the administration of Gov. Bill Walker are trying to slow the rollout of the state’s new recreational MJ program, an outgoing board member charged.

Bruce Schulte, who was removed from the five-member marijuana board last Friday by Gov. Walker, alleged that obstructionists on the board and in Walker’s administration were establishing unreasonably strict regulations that would hurt new cannabis businesses, according to Anchorage NBC affiliate KTUU.

“There’s an…

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AK Agency Passes On-Site MJ Consumption Amendment

Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board on Thursday approved an amendment to the state’s draft regulations governing on-site cannabis consumption that would permit customers to take a doggy bag home with any unused product they didn’t consume at retail MJ shops.

Alaska is expected to have the first on-site marijuana consumption program in the nation.

The amendment would permit consumers to buy cannabis at licensed on-site cannabis retailers, and then leave the store with any leftover marijuana products as long as they’re resealed in a…

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Marijuana Testing Labs Almost Online in Southeast Alaska

A key component in southeast Alaska’s upcoming recreational cannabis industry is almost complete: Marijuana testing labs in Juneau, the state capital, are expected to be licensed soon.

That’s important for local cannabis entrepreneurs. All marijuana must be lab-tested under state law in Alaska, and cultivators can’t ship their MJ via air or sea under federal laws, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.

At least two labs look like they’re on the verge of obtaining business permits: Southeast Alaska Labs and Juneau Cannabis Testing…

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First Alaska Recreational Marijuana Licenses Issued

Alaska has begun issuing the first business licenses for its upcoming recreational cannabis industry, a key step in the launch of the state’s adult-use MJ market.

The first two licenses were issued Thursday afternoon at a meeting of the state’s Marijuana Control Board, which approved permits for a pair of testing labs that were first on the agenda, the Alaska Dispatch News reported.

The first, for Anchorage-based CannTest, was approved unanimously by the five-member board, and now requires…

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Is Fairbanks Becoming Alaska’s Marijuana Capital?

Just as Denver is the epicenter of Colorado’s recreational cannabis industry, it appears Fairbanks is poised to be the somewhat unlikely hub of Alaska’s upcoming rec trade.

Thanks to less bureaucratic red tape, Fairbanks has become the most welcoming municipality when it comes to marijuana companies looking to set up shop, according to the Alaska Dispatch News. Alaska voters approved adult-use marijuana in February 2015.

Fairbanks is the second most populous city in the state, with just…

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Alaska’s Marijuana Clubs Dwindle

The number of marijuana social clubs in Alaska is shrinking amid confusion over whether they are indeed legal.

The confusion has led to a patchwork of conflicting local controls, according to the Alaska Journal of Commerce, which reported that Anchorage’s Pot Luck Events is the only marijuana social club still operating while not facing a legal challenge.

The Higher Calling in Fairbanks and Kachemak Cannabis Club in Homer have both shut down, and the city of Kenai is seeking an…

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First Alaskan Rec Permit Issued?

The city of Juneau, Alaska’s state capital, has handed out what may be the first recreational marijuana business permit in the state.

The Juneau Planning Commission gave the green light this week to a conditional use permit to Fireweed Factory, a grow operation that will be set up in a small building about the size of a two-car garage, according to the Associated Press.

The state won’t begin issuing rec licenses for another few months, and there’s no express requirement that businesses…

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Alaska Releases MJ Business Applicant List

Nearly 200 marijuana business licenses applications have been submitted in Alaska since the state opened its application process on Feb. 24, according to a state list.

As of March 14, there were 47 retail dispensary applications, 89 “standard cultivation site” applications, 42 “limited cultivation site” applications, eight applications for concentrate production facilities, six applications for product manufacturing facilities, and three testing site applications. That’s a grand…

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Measure 2 Proponents Urge Legislators to Oppose Ban on Marijuana Businesses in Rural Alaska

Measure 2 Proponents Urge Legislators to Oppose Ban on Marijuana Businesses in Rural Alaska

Leaders of the 2014 initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol say an amendment that was snuck into an otherwise non-controversial marijuana rules clarification bill is unwarranted and defies the will of Alaska voters

ANCHORAGE, AK — Backers of the 2014 initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Alaska are urging legislators to oppose a measure that would severely limit marijuana business locations and access to marijuana for adults in rural Alaska.

The amendment was recently snuck into House Bill 75, an otherwise non-controversial…

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Rec License Applications Begin in Alaska

Alaska opened its adult use marijuana business license application process on Wednesday, with 68 businesses starting their online paperwork, according to a release from the state’s Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office.

The state’s Marijuana Control Board (MCB) will likely start reviewing applications that were submitted this week by mid-March, the release said. There is no cap on how many licenses will be awarded, and no application deadline. Instead, the board will accept applications on…

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Anchorage Finalizes Recreational Cannabis Regs

The Anchorage City Assembly finalized its regulations for the upcoming recreational marijuana industry on Tuesday night, tweaking buffer zone rules, prohibiting small-scale commercial grows and taking other steps.

The new rules reduce the required distance between marijuana retailers and schools from 1,000 feet to 500 feet. But the news is not as good as it seems because the distance won’t be measured by the shortest pedestrian route between entrances, but the shortest distance from…

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The Next Rec State: Highlights of Alaska’s New Marijuana Rules

alaska marijuana

By John Schroyer

The fourth recreational cannabis market in the United States is almost here.

The Alaskan Marijuana Control Board formally signed off on rules for the industry last week, including detailed procedures for businesses that want to obtain permits.

The next step is to open the application window, which begins Feb. 24, and then start handing out permits in May.

Although the board might still tweak the rules here and there, the vast majority of regulations are done, and there almost…

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Alaska Rec Rules Finalized

Statewide recreational marijuana industry rules have had all the t’s crossed and i’s dotted for the great American frontier in Alaska. They go into effect Feb. 21, and the state must begin accepting license applications on Feb. 24.

A five-member Marijuana Control Board, which has spent months writing the new rules, sent on the final draft to the state Department of Law, which struck out two portions, according to the Alaska Dispatch News. The rest of the 127-page document went on to be…

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ASA Releases New Report on State Medical Marijuana Programs

ASA Releases New Report on State Medical Marijuana Programs

With the release last year of the first detailed analysis and comparison of state medical marijuana laws, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) created a patient-focused tool to identify effective programs and problem areas. That groundbreaking report was followed by the release of ASA’s new, far more detailed report on state programs, which reflects the many new states that have added programs as well as others that have improved their existing programs.

Like the original report, this latest white paper enables advocates, policy makers and…

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ASA Report Evaluates Medical Marijuana Programs Nationwide

ASA Report Evaluates Medical Marijuana Programs Nationwide

Patient Advocates Hope Report will Help State Legislators “Make the Grade” in 2016

WASHINGTON, DC — Americans for Safe Access (ASA) issued “Medical Marijuana Access in the US: A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws,” on Tuesday. The annual report evaluates the array of differing state medical cannabis programs across the country from a perspective often overlooked in policy debates: the patients’ and provides policy makers with model legislation and regulations. With dozens of states already seeing legislative…

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Week in Review: Florida CBD Licenses, Alaska Marijuana Regulations & California’s Black Market

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By John Schroyer

Florida announces CBD license winners as the state considers major changes to the program, Alaska debates recreational cannabis regulations, and California medical cannabis growers voice concerns over new rules.

Here’s a closer look at several notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

Florida Licensing

Florida this week revealed the five nurseries it’s chosen to produce low-THC, high-CBD medicine for a select group of medical patients in the…

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Alaska to Revisit Marijuana Residency Requirement

After loosening residency rules last week for the state’s upcoming recreational marijuana industry, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board has now decided to take up the issue once again.

Under new rules adopted last week, an entrepreneur who wants to fulfill the residency requirement to own a marijuana business in Alaska just has to qualify for voter registration. That means simply living in Alaska, having a physical address and not being registered to vote in any other state – nothing…

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Alaska Regulators to Allow Onsite Consumption in Some Marijuana Retail Stores

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board voted on Friday to create a class of retail marijuana license that will allow onsite consumption. This is an important decision that benefits adult consumers, those who will be licensed to provide to them, and the communities that want to regulate use.Alaska-StateSeal.svg

Despite clear language contained in Measure 2, some state staff members had advised the board that it could not authorize retail licenses to allow onsite consumption. Many of those who supported Measure 2 were concerned that the…

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Alaska MJ Board Votes for In-Store Consumption

In a major policy shift, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board has voted in favor of a plan that would allow recreational cannabis retailers to let customers consume marijuana in designated areas of their shops.

The 3-2 vote follows months of debate over whether marijuana buyers would have any place to use cannabis, besides their homes or other private spaces.

If the amendment is approved by Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, it would make Alaska the first state to explicitly allow marijuana consumption…

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Anchorage Proposes First Rec Laws

More than a year after Alaskan voters approved recreational marijuana, lawmakers in the state’s largest city have finally released their first proposed cannabis regulations governing land use and zoning.

The proposed regulations, released by the Anchorage Municipal Assembly, would require marijuana businesses to have special land-use permits. They would also prohibit any type of marijuana business – including backyard greenhouse – from operating in residential areas.

Under the proposal,…

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