Commercial grade cannabis plants inside of a licensed, indoor grow operation.

Sarah Climaco

Alaskan Cannabis Cultivators Denied State Services from Some Federally-Funded Agencies

Alaska’s Division of Agriculture has put at least two applications from cannabis cultivators seeking to have their products tagged with an “Alaska Grown” label on hold because they don’t want to jeopardize their federal dollars, the Alaska Dispatch News reports. The Alaska Marijuana Industry Association called it “simply arbitrary that some programs are singled out and withheld from licensed marijuana establishments.”

“It is unconscionable that the state would license and tax establishments and not grant them full access to services in Alaska,” the association said in a statement.

Johanna Herron, market access and food safety manager for the Division of Agriculture, said that the department has reached out to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for clarification on the issue.

Cannabis industry operators are also banned from posting on the state-run job site, Alexsys, which is fully funded with monies from the U.S. Department of Labor. James Harvey, assistant director to the Division of Employment and Training Services, said the funding would be at risk if they allowed cannabis businesses to use the site. Harvey indicated he has reached out to the Department of Labor for clarification and they directed him to federal drug control policy.

Other agencies in Alaska that receive federal dollars have developed their own approaches. The Alaska Marine Highway System, which oversees the state ferry system, will not report anyone to the authorities caught on board a vessel with less than an ounce. The state Department of Environmental Conservation is hoping to work with the industry to get them under compliance with federal pesticide-use policies, going so far as to set up a booth at the upcoming Cannabis Classic, a cannabis industry trade show in Anchorage.

Some cannabis operators in Alaska have been given the blessing by local authorities to carry cannabis with them on airplanes. The TSA, a federal agency, is directed to call local authorities if they discover a passenger with cannabis; however local authorities have so far allowed cultivators to fly with their products so long as they have the proper paperwork.

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