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Anchorage Assembly Finalizes Recreational Cannabis Regulations

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The Anchorage Assembly finalized regulations for the recreational cannabis industry this week, The Alaska Journal of Commerce reports.

Many restrictions have been tightened — particularly relating to property buffers between marijuana businesses and sensitive locations such as schools, parks, and other cannabis retailers. The buffer has been reworked from 1000 ft. to 500 ft., which may seem to be more favorable toward cannabis businesses, but now the distance is considered as the crow flies and from property edge to property edge (before, it was measured as a pedestrian’s route between building entrances).

Ultimately, the changes have negatively effected several business owners who had been preparing to apply for a license later this month. “Many of my clients’ spaces were fine this morning,” said Jana Weltzin, an attorney specializing in cannabis business. “And as of tonight, many are now back to square one after months of careful property location scouting and efforts.”

The outlying communities of Chugiak and Eagle River also faced severe zoning restrictions against legal cannabis, angering some residents who argue that, as Anchorage taxpayers, they deserve a fair chance at joining the regulated industry.

The Anchorage Assembly also considered and ultimately tabled a ban on marijuana clubs in the city, though it did pass regulations preventing on-site consumption in retail stores themselves. Meanwhile, it remains unclear whether or not regulations at the state level will allow for the continued existence of cannabis social clubs.

Starting February 24, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board will have application forms available on its website for hopeful recreational cannabis businesses.