Permitted social cannabis use is part of what I often refer to as the ‘second phase of legalization.’ A lot of people think that just because voters (or eventually a legislature) pass a cannabis legalization measure that the battle is over. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Even in legal states that battle rages on to improve upon a legalization victory. Social use is a great example of that.
Just because a state has voted to legalize cannabis does not mean that cannabis can be consumed in a social setting. To be clear, social use that is being referred to is not exactly the same as public use. When some people, especially the media, refer to social use they make it sound like activists are pushing for the right to puff on a joint while walking down the street or hanging out at the local playground. What activists are really referring to is cannabis use in a private setting that is open to certain members of the public.
Social use reform has taken on various models, with Denver being the first jurisdiction to pass a social use/consumption measure. The measure has yet to be implemented, and has been hacked up quite a bit since the measure was approved by Denver voters in 2016. The Denver model is aiming to allow certain establishments such as bars and yoga studios to allow cannabis consumption in a designated area at the venue. Any permits would have to first be approved by the neighborhood they are located in.
That is different than what is being proposed in Alaska, which as I read the proposed rules, would only allow consumption at licensed retail locations. I have long had a dream of frequenting a cannabis coin-op arcade, which it sounds like still wouldn’t be allowed in Alaska (maybe someday!). Below are the proposed rules for on-site consumption in Alaska, as featured in today’s Marijuana Moment newsletter and posted on the State of Alaska’s website:
The Marijuana Control Board proposes to adopt regulation changes in 3 AAC 306 of the Alaska Administrative Code, dealing with onsite marijuana consumption endorsements for retail marijuana establishments, including the following:
(1) 3 AAC 306.370 proposes to allow retail marijuana licensees to apply for an onsite consumption endorsement if certain conditions are met.
(2) 3 AAC 306.990 proposes to define “marijuana consumption area” and “retail marijuana store premises.”
You may comment on the proposed regulation changes, including the potential costs to private persons of complying with the proposed changes, by submitting written comments to the Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office at 550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1600, Anchorage, AK 99501. Additionally, the Marijuana Control Board will accept comments by electronic mail email@example.com. Comments may also be submitted through the Alaska Online Public Notice System by accessing this notice on the system and using the comment link. The comments must be received not later than 4:30 pm on October 27, 2017.
You may submit written questions relevant to the proposed action to the Marijuana Control Board by email firstname.lastname@example.org or at 550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1600, Anchorage, AK 99501. The questions must be received at least 10 days before the end of the public comment period. The Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office will aggregate its response to substantially similar questions and make the questions and responses available on the Alaska Online Public Notice System.
If you are a person with a disability who needs a special accommodation in order to participate in this process, please contact Jedediah Smith at email@example.com or (907) 269-0350 not later than October 16, 2017 to ensure that any necessary accommodation can be provided.
A copy of the proposed regulation changes is available on the Alaska Online Public Notice System and by contacting the Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office at (907) 269-0350 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
After the public comment period ends, the Marijuana Control Board will either adopt the proposed regulation changes or other provisions dealing with the same subject, without further notice, or decide to take no action. The language of the final regulation may be different from that of the proposed regulation. You should comment during the time allowed if your interests could be affected. Written comments received are public records and are subject to public inspection.
Statutory authority: AS 17.38.010; AS 17.38.070; AS 17.38.121; AS 17.38.150; AS 17.38.190; AS 17.38.200; AS 17.38.900
Statutes being implemented, interpreted, or made specific: AS 17.38.070 AS 17.38.200 AS 17.38.210
Fiscal information: The proposed regulation changes are not expected to require an increased appropriation.