Tags Posts tagged with "alaska"


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Palmer Republican Shelley Hughes introduced a proposal recently (Senate Bill 6) that would Permit for the creation of an Alaska hemp industry fully separate from commercial cannabis. Hughes said she introduced the proposal after hearing from farmers in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough who would like to cultivate hemp, particularly to feed livestock. Hughes said, “I’m hoping it maybe, in a small way, opens up an economic opportunity for Alaskans.” She noted the vast array of goods that can be created from hemp (some estimate more than 25,000 possible products) including food and construction materials.

It is still unknown if the crop will be profitable in Alaska. Hughes pointed to a 1916 document from the Alaska Agricultural Experiment Stations that says hemp “fruited abundantly” during a summer crop in the then-territory. Former Senator Johnny Ellis introduced a similar proposal last session that did not make it through the Legislature. Hughes had to reintroduce it, and adjusted it after reviewing hemp federal guidelines. Under the proposal, hemp would be considered an agricultural product, and excluded from Alaska’s definition of cannabis. The hemp industry would be managed by the Division of Agriculture, instead of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office.

Strictly controlled, state-run hemp pilot programs were made legal at the federal level by the 2014 Federal Farm Bill. Under Senate Bill 6, Alaska’s farmers would be able to produce, process, and sell hemp. An individual, college, or the Alaska Department of Natural Resources could partake in the pilot program. Hemp would be defined in Alaska statutes as cannabis sativa L., containing no more than 0.3 percent THC. That’s the common definition both at a federal and state level, which the California-based Project CBD says originated from a 1976 taxonomic report by a Canadian plant scientist who never intended to create the legal standard for cannabis vs hemp.

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Alaska is very close to its first legal sales of marijuana, nearly two years after voters passed a bill allowing the recreational use of pot by adults. Retails stores are being permitted by the state Marijuana Control Board, and just a few hurdles remain until commercial sales begin. The biggest road block is getting past waiting for labs to test the raw product. Two labs have been licensed by the state, both in Anchorage. The compound is awaiting final review from the municipality and state and final approval from an accrediting lab.

“If we’re going to start testing by definitely the beginning of November, I think it rolls in pretty well with everything else,” he stated.

Arctic Herbery received the first-ever marijuana license for a retail store from the city of Anchorage on Tuesday evening.

“Maybe people have come to terms that I’m not such a bad guy.” He plans to open his store towards Nov. 1, and he expects a major opening similar to when national chains open in Alaska’s largest city, and lines of customers snake around the business for days. Once the labs open their doors, she believes beginning sales about a week later.

The lab testing procedure takes about 3 days, and then the marijuana will have to be driven from Anchorage to Fairbanks. Like everyone else across the state, owner Tara Bass has to sit tight for cannabis to be cleared by a testing lab. Colorado, Oregon, Washington state and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana.

Voters in five states – Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada – will consider making recreational pot legal in November. In midst of local elections on Tuesday, voters in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough north of Anchorage approved allowing the sale of marijuana in unincorporated areas, but one city in another part of the state put the brakes on sales.

“Things are finally happening.” He says AK Green Labs is about a week behind CannTest in the race to open. For Destiny Neade, she’s not going to wait until she is totally stocked with edibles and concentrates and will open with just marijuana on the shelves.

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Marijuana prohibition in America could be dealt a big blow in November, with five states voting on legalizing the adult recreational use of cannabis. If current polling trends are any evidence, voters in all five states – Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada -will most likely approve their respective legalization measures. Registered voters in the stat of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington have all passed measures to legalize, tax and regulate adult cannabis sales, while voters in the District of Columbia have passed a law that allows adults to grow and possess (but not purchase) marijuana.

But of course, none of those states can match the sheer numbers in California, the largest state in the country. Fifty percent support is a great position for legalization in a state as conservative as Arizona. Originally seen as a long shot, Arizona’s marijuana legalization bill, Proposition 205, is currently hauling in 50 percent support, with only 40 percent who are not in favor of the measure, according to a highly respected Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News poll released back in the beginning of September. Fifty percent support is a great position for legalization in a state as conservative as Arizona.

Now let’s look at California, a state which beat a marijuana legalization proposal in 2010. An August poll, which did not ask respondents about any particular ballot questions, discovered that over 60 percent of voters are under the impression that “Marijuana should be legal for adults to purchase and use recreationally, with government regulations similar to the regulation of alcohol.” In the face of this, even old-school bastions of conservative thought in the state have changed.

Not only would the entire Pacific coast be made up of states that have legalized marijuana, though, with a population of almost 40 million, California would single-handedly deliver reform to 12 percent of the United States population. Once a part of Massachusetts, the nearby New England state of Maine will join the other states that are voting on marijuana legalization in November as ballot Question 1.

What’s more, if all five bills go through, it could prove to be a catalyst for other states who want to join the club for legalizing cannabis as legislators scramble to have their states join the “Green rush” before it becomes less profitable to do so.

The Holy Grail for marijuana reform supporters, obviously, would be an actual state legislature passing a bill in the upcoming legislative session to legalize marijuana for adults. With only 24 states in the US allowing the referendum process, more than half the country will rely upon their state lawmakers to legalize marijuana one way or another.

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Legal marijuana has been available in the state of Alaska for almost two years, however, the severely flawed program has yet again taken another major hit this past Thursday. In a statement directed to almost 11,000 Alaska-based members of the U.S. Army, Major General Bryan Owens made the Army’s position on marijuana as clear a day, with going as far as to even have issued a freedom-stifling new mandate to the state’s soldiers.

The official order allows Alaska’s soldiers to reflect on the fact and not forget that cannabis remains a Schedule I drug and “those who use, have or distribute marijuana or any derivative on an Alaska base are in violation the Uniform Code of Military Justice.” Maj. Gen. Owens’ order also goes on to forbid all soldiers stationed in Alaska from “attending any marijuana, cannabis or hemp fairs, festivals, conventions or similar events.” Any event or gathering that advocates the use, possession, or cultivation of marijuana, as well hemp, is currently off limits to Army members stationed in America’s largest state.

“These types of events typically involve, but are not limited to, promoting the use of marijuana and disseminating information on the growing and processing of marijuana,” the news release stated. “Attendance at such events is inconsistent with military service and has the potential to adversely impact the health, welfare and good order and discipline for soldiers stationed here.”

The order was a pre-emptive attack by the Army, as they are expecting a big amount of these gatherings taking place in the state’s marijuana industry; Alaska just issued its first retail sales license to Fairbanks shop Frozen Budz, with many more soon to follow with the same result. When the Army first caught wind that marijuana businesses were offering military discounts on tickets or products, Maj. Gen. Owens himself had to law down the law.

“It’s well-meaning people who are trying to reach out because they support the soldiers and their families,” stated John Pennell, head of Media Relations for U.S. Army Alaska. “The community here is extremely supportive of the military,” Pennell further explain. “In some cases that can be less than helpful. For example, we’ve had a couple businesses that are in the process of getting licenses to legally sell marijuana, and they advertised a military discount.”

“We’re trying to make sure that we do everything that we can to keep the soldiers informed of what would get them in trouble,” added Pennell.

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The owners of Frozen Budz have high hopes now that they’ve received Alaska’s first retail marijuana license. Destiny Neade, co-owner of the Fairbanks business, received a round of applause from the audience after she won unanimous approval for the inaugural permit from the five-man Alaska Marijuana Control Board.

She and her husband Nick Neade have poured more than $150,000 into their fledgling business. The board has been working on rules for the industry since the November 2014 vote approving the recreational use of marijuana. State marijuana regulators approved the Neades’ application during a two-day meeting in Anchorage.

The board was also to consider marijuana retail permits from 16 other applicants, plus a rash of manufacturing and cultivating permits. The Neades’ also received approval for a product manufacturing facility, and regulators painstakingly addressed many of her 40 or so proposed products to make sure they adhere to state regulations.

More than 25 were approved before the board decided to hold some for another meeting because the process became so lengthy. Frozen Budz received approval to make such items as cannabis-infused butter, oil, brownies, caramels, truffles, cookies, cupcakes, fudge, banana bread, ice cream, granola bars and breakfast treats called Wake and Bake Bars.

“We’re kind of that home-feel bakery but infused with marijuana” she said.

“It’s incredibly exciting obviously, and really proud to represent the industry in such a responsible way,” said co-owner Leah Levinton.

“I think as a family business, we will wrap in the family values into our business practice.” Levinton, her mother, Jane Stinson, and her brother, Evan Levinton hope to open shop in December.

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Canada will press the United States to change an outskirt approach that has banished Canadians who confess to having utilized weed from making a trip to the United States, given that Canada arrangements to authorize pot, an administration representative told Reuters on Friday. The instance of a Canadian man banned from U.S. traveling on the grounds that he confessed to having smoked pot recreationally has blended open deliberation over United States fringe specialists invoking a government law against weed use, despite the fact that pot use is legitimate in a few states and forthcoming lawful in Canada.

English Columbia inhabitant Matthew Harvey was halted at a United States fringe crossing in Washington state in 2014 and got some information about recreational pot use. Whenever Harvey, 37 at the time and who had a license to utilize medicinal weed, said he had smoked pot recreationally, he was confined and addressed for six hours before being denied section and banished from future passage.

“They said that I was inadmissible because I admitted to smoking marijuana after the age of 18 and before I’d received my medical marijuana license,” said Harvey.

In a meeting with the CBC, Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said that the circumstance should have been tended to, especially in light of uneven weed confinements in the United States.

“We obviously need to intensify our discussions with our border authorities in the United States, including the Department of Homeland Security,” Goodale stated. “This does seem to be a ludicrous situation. Three or four other jurisdictions in the United States. [T]here’s certain ironies about the current American position that we will certainly be very vociferous in putting before them.”

Four U.S. states — Washington, Colorado, Alaska, and Oregon — have sanctioned recreational cannabis use, as has the District of Colombia. Additionally, 25 states have authorized medicinal pot, no less than five of which will settle on recreational pot legalization in November decisions.

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The United States Department of Justice is not allowed to spend money to prosecute federal cannabis cases if the defendants abide by state guidelines that allow marijuana’s sale for medicinal purposes, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday. The ruling, which comes from the Ninth United States Circuit Court of Appeals, arrives as voters in nine other states are going to think about legalizing the recreational use of cannabis this November.

At the moment, twenty-five U.S. states have legalized medical marijuana despite the fact that the drug is still illegal under federal law. Regardless, Congress in 2014 passed a budget rule which stops the Department of Justice from using federal funds to get in the way of state laws regarding marijuana. Because of this rule, defendants in ten cases in California and Washington refuted that their federal charges should be dropped. The 9th Circuit in San Francisco, which covers nine Western states, decided on Tuesday that the Department of Justice is not allowed to spend money so long as those defendants “strictly complied” with all state laws.

The appeals court sent the cases back to lower courts to decide whether or not the defendants had followed state law. A Justice Department spokesman was not able to be reached for comment. In November, California and eight other states are going to think about whether to allow cannabis for recreational use. Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, as well as the District of Columbia, already allow it. The unanimous 9th Circuit ruling on Tuesday was given by a panel of three judges, two of which are Republican appointees who have a tendency towards pro-law enforcement. Nevertheless, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote that medical cannabis sellers should not feel as though they are free from federal law.

“Congress could restore funding tomorrow, a year from now, or four years from now,” he stated, “and the government could then prosecute individuals who committed offenses while the government lacked funding.”

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There has not been a bit of cannabis sold in Alaska, however, some bank accounts connected to people in the growing marijuana industry are already being taken away. Referencing strict federal laws around marijuana, Alaska USA Federal Credit Union has ceased to keep the accounts of multiple customers open. Credit Union 1 has also closed down someone’s account, according to company officials. Cole Hollister, one of the owners of Fairbanks-based cultivation facility Pakalolo Supply Co. Inc. received a letter informing him that his account with Alaska USA was shut down.

“It recently came to our attention that you are an affiliate of the marijuana cultivation facility, Pakalolo,” the letter states, citing the company’s state cannabis license number. As the first company licensed by the state, Hollister just started growing commercial marijuana in late July. He states that this move was entirely uncalled for.

“Nothing’s happened yet,” he responded. “There’s no business, there’s no income, there’s no illegal activity going on.”

The letter gives Hollister thirty days to close the account.

“It’s just standard practice for us,” Dan McCue, senior vice president of corporate administration at Alaska USA, said. “If it’s an account related to the cannabis industry, it’s an account that we can’t maintain.”

McCue did not want to confirm how many accounts were shut down, but the Fairbanks Daily-News Miner reported ten personal accounts linked to cannabis-related businesses had been taken away.

“It’s not just sales,” McCue added. “That’s the distinction. It’s related to the business, so there’s all kinds of things you can do to get your business started. We established a policy, we have the right to do that.”

Hollister stated that he kept the account for over three decades and that it is merely a savings accounts. He claims that the account has never been used for anything related to cannabis.

“They have no reason and really no justification to assume guilt,” Hollister said.

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The Borough Assembly agreed to allow five marijuana businesses in Fairbanks obtain state licenses, which will be the start of a road towards full legalization.

“I am glad that this era of prohibition seems to be coming to an end. It will be good for the welfare of our society,” Fairbanks North Star Borough Assemblyman Christopher Quist said, following the votes on Thursday.

Eighty percent of these companies are going to specialize in cultivating cannabis indoors, while the remaining twenty percent is going to specialize in growing marijuana outdoors. The Alaska Marijuana Control Board also came together on Thursday to look over the licensing applications for marijuana businesses, approving some licenses for Fairbanks cultivators. The state gives local government the chance to protest cannabis laws the same way that alcohol licenses are. Assemblyman Lance Roberts and Assemblywoman Diane Hutchison tried to fight the licenses to no avail.

“I am saddened with the way our society is going with the acceptance of such a toxic substance,” said Roberts.

The companies that were finally approved from the borough are the following: “the Tanana Herb Co. at 3495 Old River Landing, Purple Quail at 440 Skyridge Dr., Alaska Cannabis Cultivators at 2693 Arla St., Pakalolo Supply Co. at 1851 Fox Ave. and Rosie Creek Farm at 2659 Livingston Loop in Ester.” Rosie Creek Farm was the first cultivator to receive a cannabis license from Alaska, which must have come with great joy.

The Marijuana Control Board held a meeting in Anchorage, giving numerous cultivators licenses for the recently legalized cannabis industry after a delay because of Alaska’s lack of authority to give national background checks. The ability to undergo background checks is a law that has not been approved by Governor Bill Walker yet. Mike Emers, the owner of Rosie Creek Farm, states that he is excited to finally begin growing some marijuana, but is not sure whether Alaska’s approval means that he can begin today.

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Alaskan cannabis managers do not seem as though they are prepared to look into cannabis cafes at the moment and have decided to look for the people to see what they thought about it. The Marijuana Control Board thought about a draft regulation that would have allowed shops that sell cannabis that is able to be used only onsite, very similar to how a bar would give out alcohol. But after a member expressed his worries, the board is now looking into a different option; you would still be able to buy marijuana from the store, but you would need to go to a separate area in order to smoke it. They would also be allowed to take portions home with them.

Board member Mark Springer stated that the first discussion about onsite use went from giving a place for tourists off of cruise ships to buy and use legal cannabis to setting up pot cafes. He stated that he believed the methodology that came up on Thursday would be much better for the citizens. The public is also going to be able to give their opinion once more. Under an unconfirmed timeline, the first licenses are probably going to be given out in September. The board has started giving out licenses for testing and growing operations.

The board, which is going to meet in Fairbanks, struggled with how to proceed with the drag regulations. Two other representatives were begging the board not to push back their efforts. The board had openly spoke about whether the board has the ability to let people use marijuana onsite at authorized stores since the initiative legalizing recreational cannabis made it illegal to use the drug outdoors. Harriet Dinegar Milks, an assistant attorney general serving as counsel to the board, stated that she thinks the board needs to define “in public.” If the definition were properly defined, onsite use would not be a problem for smokers.

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