Alaska Board Votes to Allow Cannabis Use at Retail Locations

The Alaskan Marijuana Control Board voted to allow the use of cannabis at dispensaries which, if it’s approved by the Lieutenant Governor, would make it the first state to expressly permit consumption outside of private spaces in the U.S..

Though its purchase for recreational use is allowed, cannabis use is currently banned in all public spaces, which includes retail locations.

As part of the legalization Alaska voters approved in November of last year “it is unlawful to consume marijuana in public” with violators facing a $100. State officials have argued that “public” refers to any space outside of a private home.

The proposed amendment to marijuana regulations excludes retailers from the definition of a public space, allowing users to smoke and use on the premises.

Even if the regulations are approved by the Department of Law and Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott, social clubs, where patrons bring their own cannabis to consume, will still be considered illegal.

Several social clubs opened in Alaska after legalization, but were deemed illegal by the Marijuana Control Board which wrote additional regulations that explicitly banned the clubs. The decisions was negatively received by the public.

Other states have also dealt with the issue of public cannabis consumption and how to regulate it.

Washington banned social clubs in July, while in Colorado, officials are preparing measures to allow them. Oregon has made public consumption illegal, but the social clubs themselves are not permitted or outright banned.