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The main street of Alaska's capital city, Juneau.

Bernard Spragg. NZ

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board has voted 3-2 not to allow cannabis consumption at retail stores, according to a report from the Associated Press. The measure would have made Alaska the first state in the nation to approve consumption at legal cannabis shops.

Board member Mark Springer said he rejected the measure partly over concerns about how President Donald Trump’s administration will handle the legal cannabis industry.

“We don’t want to be waving a red flag in front of federal law enforcement, at least not now,” Springer said in the report.

Cary Carrigan, Alaska Marijuana Industry Association executive director, thinks that allowing cannabis-use at retail stores will happen eventually because one of the driving forces behind the voter-backed measure was allowing tourists to consume cannabis, especially cruise ships. Last year, Alaska had more than 2 million tourists – just over half arrived on cruise ships.

“What are they going to do?” Carrigan asked. “There’s going to be 500 people standing on the docks, smoking a joint.”

Most of Alaska’s tourists visit during the summer months, and tourism – a $1.9 billion industry in Alaska from 2014-2015 – could increase this year as retail stores begin opening across the state, but presently there is no place for them to legally consume the drug.

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