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Officials Finalize Alaska’s Recreational Cannabis Rules

Alaska’s new rules regarding legalized cannabis in the state passed review by the state Department of Law last Friday — except for two provisions regarding criminal background checks and quality testing.

The first provision, which required a criminal background check for anyone licensing a marijuana establishment, was struck down on the basis that requiring such a check must come from a state statute, not the Marijuana Control Board.

The second regulation that failed the Department of Law review is, according to Marijuana Control Board chair Bruce Schulte, a more complicated fix. Alaska’s regulations require that all marijuana sold in the state must be tested for cannabinoid makeup and microbial content — but access to testing facilities in rural areas is limited by a lack of road infrastructure, and air transportation of marijuana is still illegal at the federal level.

Defining clear language for the rule is proving difficult and in the meantime, it will remain up in the air. “Everyone involved expects these regulations to evolve and be refined over time,” Schulte said.

The Marijuana Control Board finalized the 127-page document that outlines regulations for governing Alaska’s commercial marijuana industry on Dec. 1.

So far, Alaska’s rule book is proving a good example for cannabis legalization in the U.S., and has dodged a common problem. Since smoking weed in public is illegal, there’s nowhere for out-of-state visitors to consume their legally purchased cannabis. Alaska solved this quandary by including a provision that allows for the consumption of marijuana at retail locations.

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