Walker Files Bill Creating Marijuana Control Board

Just one day before marijuana possession becomes legal in Alaska, Gov. Bill Walker has filed legislation to create a marijuana control board.

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The board would handle the regulation and licensing of marijuana retailers. It would be independent of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, but the groups would share the same staff within the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.

Advocates for the marijuana industry have asked that the two substances be regulated separately to reduce potential industry conflicts.

The governor filed the bill on Monday. Walker has already included $1.5 million in his budget for the cost of regulating marijuana.

Marijuana possession becomes legal on February 24, because of an initiative passed by voters in 2014. Under the ballot measure’s implementation timeline, marijuana retailers are not expected have licenses until 2016.