Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board voted 3-2 in favor of allowing on-site cannabis consumption at licensed dispensaries on Thursday, according to an Associated Press report.
The approval marks a significant milestone for Alaska’s adult-use cannabis industry, where officials have been considering social use regulations since 2015. The proposed rules will now be investigated by the state’s Department of Law, after which they can be signed into effect by the lieutenant Governor.
If the proposed changes are signed into law, Alaska will become the first legalized state with state-level laws allowing for social cannabis consumption. Currently, only certain U.S. cities — including Denver, San Francisco, and, most recently, West Hollywood — have similar rules on the books.
“There are certainly states that have indicated that they want on-site consumption but they don’t have language yet. So we really have been inventing the wheel, which always is a little bit scary. … The board has worked really hard to craft something that seems reasonable.” — Erika McConnell, via KTVA
Under the new rules, retailers will be able to apply for an upgrade to their cannabis business license that would allow them to let on-site consumers smoke up to one gram of cannabis flower or eat edibles containing no more than 10mg of THC per day.
Interested businesses will need to provide a ventilated or outdoor space that is separated by walls from the retail section of the dispensary. They must also include a smoke-free section where employees can monitor the consumption area.
With the continued spread of cannabis normalization, more and more advocates are calling for legalized states to allow for cannabis consumption in public spaces such as cafes, lounges, or clubs. The issue is particularly important for the cannabis tourism industry, as consumption otherwise remains illegal outside of a private residence.