Final cannabis laws hammered out in Anchorage

Anchorage is just days away from finalizing local rules that will determine the shape of the state’s largest commercial cannabis market.

Marijuana for sale at a dispensary in California. (Photo: Dank Depot via Flickr Creative Commons)
Marijuana for sale at a dispensary in California. (Photo: Dank Depot via Flickr Creative Commons)

During public testimony Thursday evening in front of the Anchorage Assembly, residents gave feedback on the finer points of the zoning and licence requirements nearing their final form. Many spoke of a positive shift in the Assembly’s willingness to adjust draft ordinances in recent work sessions.

However, concerns remain that set-back limits, limited property options, and rules against on-site consumption will still place excessive burdens on potential businesses.

The Assembly will vote on amended versions of the expansive changes to municipal code on Tuesday evening during it’s regular meeting. Once those laws are on the books, prospective operators can finalize business plans as part of application process required by state-law to have a commercial permit. Those applications open February 24th.

Local governments across the state have been scrambling recently as that deadline approaches, with many issues like transport, banking, and testing requirements still unresolved.

Dozens of people sat in the audience, but many fewer spoke. Though the Assembly was prepared to hear five hours of testimony, the meeting only lasted an hour-and-a-half.