Out of the 33 states to legalize medical and/or recreational marijuana, none have ever permitted on-site cannabis consumption at the dispensary until now. This week, Alaska’s Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, signed into law a new regulation that will allow consumers to purchase and partake in using cannabis on the premises of a license marijuana retailer.
The decision to enact this regulation comes only months after the Alaska Marijuana Control Board approved on-site cannabis consumption in accordance with certain limitations. For marijuana dispensaries to receive an endorsement for this type of permit they can only sell up to one gram of cannabis and edibles must contain a maximum of 10mg of THC to be consumed on-site at the dispensary.
Additional regulations are as follows:
No visible smoke may exit the building.
No detectable odor beyond the property line.
Air handling equipment must convey air outside and use a filter.
Nuisance provisions to help protect neighbors.
Now that on-site cannabis consumption has been signed into law, licensed marijuana dispensaries can start to apply for a “special onsite use endorsement” from the state beginning on April 11th. There are some exceptions where local jurisdictions can opt-out of this policy of on-site cannabis consumption essentially barring any retailers from this practice.
Alaska is certainly proud to be the first official state to allow on-site cannabis consumption but they are taking this process seriously. Any marijuana dispensary that is issued an endorsement must provide a consumption area that is physically separated from retail spaces. This separation can be divided by either a wall and a “security door” or an outdoor patio.
Alaska officials have yet to offer a time frame for when the first dispensary might receive an endorsement for on-site cannabis consumption but many advocates are estimating that it will be mid to late July before anything was issued. Executive director of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, Cary Carrigan, pointed out that, “As we start to develop this, people are really looking at us, so I know that everybody wants to get it right.”
If Alaska does get it right, there are certainly other states that are likely to follow suit. Legislators in Oregon are already considering moving forward with some form of on-site cannabis consumption. While there are inherent risks to allow cannabis use at marijuana dispensaries, there are certainly advantages that could potentially attract more consumers to these approved storefronts.