Alaska’s Lt. Gov Kevin Meyer has signed off on rules crafted by the state’s Marijuana Control Board that will allow on-site purchase and consumption at permitted businesses, Rolling Stone reports.
Alaska is the first state to authorize social use cannabis consumption lounges, or on-site consumption, in the U.S. While there have been similar city-level authorizations in Denver and San Francisco, no state-level permits have been issued. Beginning April 11 in Alaska, however, businesses will be able to apply for a special on-site use endorsement that would enable retail locations to let customers consume cannabis inside their shop.
Consumption areas must be separated from retail areas by a wall or secure door, or be an outdoor patio. Ventilation must be provided and a security plan must be filed with the state. The law also allows local governments to opt out of allowing on-site consumption, as well as issue additional rules or restrictions.
The first businesses allowing on-site consumption are not expected until sometime this summer, at the earliest.
“When these rules go into effect, Alaska will be the first state to finalize and approve statewide rules for on-site consumption. We expect more to follow suit in the not too distant future,” said Erik Altieri, the executive director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, in a press release.
“Allowing social consumption is sensible from a business perspective, particularly for states with large amounts of tourists who otherwise have no place to legally consume, but it also has an important social justice component. By preventing retail outlets and other venues from being licensed and regulated for social consumption, many patients will have to choose between effective cannabis treatment for their ailments or being thrown out of public housing.” — Erik Alitieri, NORML executive director, via press release
Alaska has debated allowing on-site consumption since the state first passed adult-use cannabis legalization in 2015.