Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office

Marijuana FAQs


Many Alaskans have questions regarding AS 17.38, the act to tax and regulate the production, sale, and use of marijuana (often referred to as "proposition 2" or ballot measure 2"). The Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development created this page to provide answers to frequently asked questions. Register to receive notification when new FAQs are added.

What is AS 17.38?

AS 17.38 was passed by citizen's initiative on the November 4, 2014 ballot. The initiative directed the Marijuana Control Board (created by the Alaska Legislature by a bill signed in May, 2015) to adopt regulations governing commercial marijuana establishments and then regulate the newly formed industry. The Marijuana Control Board adopted regulations in 3 AAC 306 at the end of 2015, and those regulations became effective February 21, 2016. The Marijuana Control Board will continue to follow the intent of the voter's initiative and more recently adopted statutes for the development of Alaska's new commercial marijuana industry.


AMCO does not provide legal advice. The information contained within these webpages is provided for your convenience and is not to be interpreted as legal advice. It is your responsibility to know what your licensing, reporting and filing requirements are based on your specific business activities. You must meet legal obligations to conform and comply with all requirements, and claiming not to know them is not a defense. You are encouraged to seek the advice of a professional, such as a an Attorney if you need additional assistance.


PUBLIC INPUT QUESTIONS:

How can I locate all marijuana applications in my neighborhood?

AMCO has created a map showing the locations of applications in "Initiated" or "Under Review" status. Applications in "New" status are not reflected on the map because they have not posted public notice or begun advertising their application.

AMCO also has a spread sheet reflecting applications received posted on our website, which is updated every two weeks. The spreadsheet is unable to sort applications by location at this time. Our application database is still being developed and the ability to sort by location is on the "wish list" we have submitted to our IT department. In the meantime, the locations are contained in the PDF notifications accessible through the spreadsheet and on the map linked above. No licenses have been issued at this time, so the map and spreadsheet only reflect active applications for licenses.

I saw an advertisement for a marijuana license application. How do I give my input?

3 AAC 306.065 provides that a person can object to an application for a new license, renewal of a license, or transfer of a license to another person by submitting a written statement of the reasons for the objection.

Is it illegal to transport marijuana in a plane?

As long as the transportation is in compliance with 3 AAC 306 and the rules therein, the transportation should be permitted by the federal government. AMCO is constantly asked how marijuana can be transported since flying with marijuana is illegal at the federal level. All activities relating to marijuana are illegal at the federal level. It is illegal federally to cultivate, to make marijuana products, to sell marijuana, to test marijuana, and to distribute or transport marijuana using any means. The federal government is allowing states with marijuana initiatives to engage in those illegal federal activities under a memorandum of prosecution priority called the Cole memo. The Cole memo essentially says that if a licensed, regulated marijuana business is strictly complying with robust state regulations, it can conduct activities relating to marijuana that are otherwise illegal at the federal level. We believe this includes transportation. Therefore, if a licensed, regulated establishment transports marijuana or has it transported to another licensed, regulated establishment, that transportation should not be prosecuted at the federal level. As state regulators, we cannot control the federal government, but federal courts have reiterated that we are entitled to rely on the Cole memo.

How do I lodge my objection to a specific application?

The regulation provides that you must submit the written reasons for the objection to the board and the applicant. Objections should be sent to the board via email.
Specific instructions for your email to the board are posted on the Other Marijuana Resources page.

Do I really have to notify the applicant that I am objecting to their application?

Yes. The regulation requires that a person submitting an objection must notify the applicant at the mailing address or email address provided in the notice of application.

I don't know the license number. Where do I find it?

The spreadsheet of initiated applications contains a link to the PDF form that is the public notice for each application. The license number and DBA, as well as the mailing address and email address is provided on the public notice form.

Will the board deny the license based on my objection?

The board may determine to conduct a public hearing based upon objections. The board is not required by statute or regulation to hold a public hearing on each objection. If the board decides to hold a hearing, it may receive oral testimony at the hearing. The legal reasons why a board may deny a license application can be reviewed by reading 3 AAC 306.080.

What if I just want to lodge a general objection to all marijuana applications in my city?

General comments on the regulations or applications process can be submitted to marijuana@alaska.gov. The contents of that email box are shared with the Marijuana Control Board at each meeting under a board packet item titled "Marijuana Mail." The board will be provided with your comment. The board is not legally required to discuss or act upon your comment.

MARIJUANA LICENSE APPLICATION QUESTIONS:

How do I apply for a marijuana license?

You will initiate your application from our website on the page titled “Marijuana Applications”. You will need to have a valid MyAlaska account and an Alaska business license number in order to apply. Click the button titled “Initiate Marijuana Application” and follow the prompts. Make sure you’ve reviewed all of the resources available on the application page, as they will guide you and help you in initiating your application. Completing this online process will initiate your application, but you will still need to complete your operating plan and supplemental forms. The forms are available on the marijuana application page, organized by license type.

How and when do I pay for my application fees and marijuana license fees? Do you accept cash?

You will not submit payment until after you have done your advertising, public notices and completed supplemental documentation. You may pay by check or money order at the main AMCO office in Anchorage. If you are outside the Anchorage Bowl, you may mail your check or money order to 550 W 7th Suite 1600, Anchorage AK 99501.

AMCO cannot accept currency or coin for application and licensing fees at this time. The Department of Revenue is developing a cash receipting solution for marijuana taxes that is expected to be available in October, 2016. When Revenue's cash solution is ready, AMCO will be able to accept currency or coin for application and licensing fees by sharing the cash receipting solution with Revenue. Before that solution is available, AMCO cannot accept currency or coin for our fees.

Who has to be listed on my license application?

Applicants for marijuana establishment licenses must list all persons with a direct or indirect financial interest in the operation of the license. If the application is being submitted by an LLC or Corporation, the affiliate section of the application must contain all human persons who have any interest in the entity. If members of the LLC or shareholders of a corporation are themselves entities, they must be further reduced to human persons with a financial interest in the operation of a license. All persons must be listed.

What is a direct or indirect financial interest?

This term is defined in regulation in 3 AAC 306.015(e)(1). Applicants should read and be familiar with the regulations before applying for a license.

How will AMCO be sure that I have listed all affiliates and persons with a financial interest in my license?

The application requires the applicant to swear and certify that they have listed all persons with a financial interest in the license. Misrepresentation of material fact can lead to denial of a license or suspension or revocation of a license which is issued if it is later discovered that the certification was false or the listing of affiliates was incomplete.

What if my license will be owned by an entity, like a corporation or LLC? What will AMCO do to check ownership of the entity?

The assigned examiner will check the entity ownership as listed in the Corporations, Professional and Business Licensing Database. If you have ownership of less than 5%, which is not listed on CPBL's filing page, you must update your ownership documentation with CPBL showing all ownership of your entity. You must submit a copy of your CPBL filing paperwork to AMCO as part of the application process. AMCO staff will be able to examine your updated filing document even though CPBL's filing page may not reflect less than 5% ownership.

Who has to be an Alaska resident in relation to my application?

All persons with a direct or indirect financial interest must be Alaska residents.

How will AMCO know that all affiliates and persons listed on my application meet the residency requirement?

The regulation contained in 3 AAC 306.015(e)(2) requires that each person listed on the application meet the residency requirement under AS 43.23 for a permanent fund dividend in the calendar year in which that person applied for a marijuana establishment license. AMCO will coordinate with the Permanent Fund Division of the Department of Revenue to ascertain that persons on marijuana establishment license applications meet the residency requirement.

What if I live in Alaska but have not applied for the PFD, or I do not qualify for the PFD for a reason other than not meeting the residency requirement?

The regulation does not require that a person applying for a marijuana establishment license actually receive a PFD. Please follow this link to review the residency requirements for the PFD. Applying for a PFD requires a My Alaska account, which you must also have to apply for a marijuana establishment license. AMCO encourages marijuana establishment license applicants to complete a PFD application if they meet the residency requirement.

I am not going to file for a PFD. How do I prove my residency?

AMCO is developing a written protocol for residency documentation that mirrors the PFD residency requirements. When an examiner encounters an applicant who is not in the PFD database, they will request additional documentation to prove residency from the applicant. AMCO encourages all marijuana license applicants to complete a PFD application as this will expedite the examiner's determination of residency. Applicants who are not in the PFD database should expect a longer review time for the examiner to gather the required additional documentation.

What resources are available to help me with my application?

On the “Marijuana License Application” page you will find links to the regulations, frequently asked questions, application training videos, instructions and an application process flowchart. Please check all of these resources if you have questions about your application.
If none of these resources answer your question, you may send an email to marijuana.licensing@alaska.gov regarding your application. If your question can be answered by one of these resources, you will be redirected to them.

What happens after I initiate my application online?

The following requirements must be met to get your application to the Marijuana Control Board:

  1. Notify the public of your intent to open a marijuana establishment at your proposed location by following the stipulations laid out in 3 AAC 306.025.
    • Post a copy of your application for 10 days at your proposed premises and at a conspicuous nearby location such as a post office or grocery store bulletin board.
    • Send a copy of your application to your local government.
    • Place an advertisement (created for you by the online licensing database) notifying the public of your intent to open a marijuana establishment in a newspaper of general circulation in the area you intend to operate once per week for three weeks.
  2. Complete all of the supplemental forms specific to your license type, including your Operating plan and various affidavits.
  3. Submit certified copies of your fingerprints.
  4. Submit payment, in person or by mail.
  5. Complete any requirements or stipulations laid out by your local government.
  6. After your application is deemed complete by the AMCO director per 3 AAC 306.025(d) and payment is made, it will be submitted to your local government who will have up to 60 days to protest the application or waive its right to protest.
  7. Within 90 days after your application is deemed complete, it will be considered by the board at the next regularly scheduled MCB meeting.
Where do I find the supplemental forms?

The forms are available on the marijuana license application page, organized by license type.

Where do I get the publisher’s affidavit?

You must obtain this from the newspaper that published your advertisement after your advertisement has run for the time frame you requested.

Do I need to have a right to possession of the proposed premises when I apply?

Yes. Marijuana establishment licenses are premises based licenses and applicants must provide proof of possession to the premises location as part of the application process. This will require a valid deed or lease in the name of the proposed marijuana establishment.You should wait to apply until you know that the entity applying for the license will have right of possession to the premises.

Since I do not have a location nailed down for my marijuana establishment, can I publish my ad using my home address for the premises address?

No. The address listed in the advertisement must be for the proposed marijuana establishment. You may not run an ad for a different address and change the address later. You may not run an ad for an address where you have no intention of operating the premises. You should check with your local government to make sure you are not running an advertisement for a premises address that is not zoned for a licensed marijuana establishment.

How do I submit my Operating Plan?

A form for describing your operating plan is available on our website. Applicants must complete a general form (MJ-01 Marijuana Establishment Operating Plan) that allows the applicant to describe the operating requirements that apply to all license types. Applicants must also complete a supplemental operating plan (MJ-03, 04, 05 or 06) that contains the operating requirements to be described for the particular license type they are applying for.

Can I just attach a separately formatted operating plan to my application?

You can attach a separately formatted Operating Plan to provide additional details, but must still complete the required operating plan forms. AMCO will not accept the Operating Plan if any field on the form says “see attached Operating Plan” instead of providing the required information on the form itself.

When I try to get my business license with CBPL I need to enter a NACS code but there isn’t a specific code for Marijuana businesses. Which one should I use?

Nothing in the marijuana regulations or statutes requires a specific NACS code to be used when you apply for your Alaska business license and AMCO cannot make any recommendations. Use whichever code you feel is most appropriate for your line of business.

Where can I get my fingerprints taken?

You can have your fingerprints taken at any number of certified fingerprint services in Alaska. AMCO can’t recommend any one service over another. Be sure your fingerprints are clear and are taken from a certified fingerprint service on an official fingerprint card. If the card is returned to us because the fingerprints cannot be read and need to be resubmitted, you will have to pay the fingerprint fee again..

If I am applying for more than one license, do I have to submit multiple fingerprint cards?

If you submit all of your supplemental forms and documents for each of your applications at the same time, one fingerprint card will suffice. Otherwise, you must submit one fingerprint card per license application.

What happens when I believe my application is complete and I'm ready to pay my application and licensing fees?

The application moves to an "Under Review" status when all supplemental forms and payments are submitted. The assigned BRE will begin a review of the application, examining all documents for accuracy and completeness. The BRE will check the documentation against the regulations, determine whether accurate and required public notices and advertisements were posted, check residency requirements, and determine if there are errors which need correction. There are four Business Registration Examiners and one Records and Licensing supervisor employed by AMCO to process all marijuana and alcohol license applications. At the time of this writing, AMCO has received over 200 marijuana establishment applications. Testing facility license applications and cultivation facility license applications will be prioritized by the licensing team based on the timeline approved by the MCB.

How long will it take for the AMCO director to deem my application complete?

There are two bills pending in the Alaska Legislature that will delay applications being deemed complete once the BRE is finished with her review. One bill, HB 75, contains language necessary for AMCO staff to determine whether or not any license application includes persons prohibited from obtaining a license due to their criminal history. Without the enabling statutory language, the AMCO director cannot assure the Marijuana Control Board that the statutory requirement has been met. The second bill, HB 337, subjects standard and limited cultivation license applicants to a bonding requirement to assure taxes will be paid as required by statute. The language of that bill prohibits the Marijuana Control Board from issuing a cultivation license without proof that an approved bond has been posted by the applicant. No applications will be deemed complete until these two pieces of legislation affecting completeness and assuring statutory requirements are met either pass or fail to pass the legislature. The scheduled ending date of the regular legislative session is April 19, 2016.

Does the Marijuana Handler Permit application have to be submitted at the time I submit my license application?

No. Until May 12, 2016, Marijuana Handler Permit Applications cannot be submitted at the same time as a marijuana establishment license application. Please see the next FAQ.

MARIJUANA HANDLER PERMIT QUESTIONS:

Where can I get a Marijuana Handler Permit?

After taking an approved course, the person will bring or mail their course completion certificate, an AMCO cover page along with state-issued photo identification to the AMCO offices, pay their $50 fee and receive their marijuana handler card. More details regarding Marijuana Handler permit course providers and instructions can be found here.

How do I apply to teach the Marijuana Handler Permit course?

Prospective course education providers may download the application form (Form MJ-10) and submit it along with their prospective curriculum anytime thereafter. The form can be found on the marijuana application page located here. Complete the form and return it with your entire curriculum by clicking the button at the bottom of the marijuana application page that says “Submit Supplemental Forms & Documents”. You may also submit the form and curriculum by mailing them or hand delivering them to our office, but you must get the form from the AMCO website.

MARIJUANA INVENTORY TRACKING SYSTEM QUESTIONS

What company did the Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office (AMCO) contract with for its marijuana inventory tracking system?

The State of Alaska, AMCO has entered into a contract with Franwell to provide a marijuana inventory tracking solution.

Does Franwell have any experience in this industry?

Franwell provides marijuana inventory tracking solutions to both Colorado and Oregon and has been providing supply chain solutions since 1993.

Why did the State of Alaska contract with Franwell to provide this service?

Franwell became the State’s contractor through a Request For Proposals (RFP) point-based evaluation process.

Where can I find a copy of the Request for Proposal (RFP)?

You can find the RFP on the State of Alaska’s Vendor Self Service (VSS) web page found here: VENDOR SELF SERVICES (VSS) Type the word “Marijuana” in the Keyword Search and the RFP will appear. It’s titled “Marijuana Inventory Control Tracking System (MICTS) RFP: 160000039”. Click on “Details”, then “Attachments”, then “Marijuana Inventory Control Tracking”.

What is the name of the system used by Franwell?

Franwell’s solution for the State of Alaska is called METRC, which stands for Marijuana Enforcement Tracking, Reporting and Compliance.

How does the system work?

METRC is a hosted, real-time system that uses serialized tags with barcode, human-readable and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags attached to every plant, and labels attached to wholesale packages to track marijuana inventory. Each tag is attached to a plant to facilitate tracking through different stages of growth, as well the drying and curing processes.

Is there a cost to licensees to use METRC? If so what are they?

Yes. Franwell charges $40 per month and per license for access to METRC and for ongoing training, support and maintenance. Tags cost $0.45 apiece for plants and $0.25 apiece for package tags.

Do I have to use METRC? What if I want to use my own inventory control system?

You must use METRC to track your marijuana, but you can use your own Point-of-Sale software. Franwell will provide an Application Programming Interface (API) to customers who wish to use a third-party inventory management system. Each licensee is responsible for ensuring their ability to interface with the state procured system. All licensees will be required to use the tags supplied by Franwell.

Will other licensees be able to see my inventory information?

No. Licensees will only be able to access their own information through METRC. They will not be able see any information about any other licensee.

When will the marijuana inventory tracking system be implemented?

The system is scheduled to be implemented on May 23rd, 2016.

How will we learn to use the system?

METRC will initially conduct live, in person training for the industry and will also offer webinar trainings three times per week, 50 weeks per year. They will provide written training manuals and will continue to conduct live training sessions in perpetuity, either in person or through webinar.

What if I have technical issues after the system has deployed?

Franwell has a dedicated team of support staff who will be available to resolve any technical support issues. The support desk can be contacted via phone or email.

MARIJUANA ESTABLISHMENT LICENSE GENERAL QUESTIONS:

Is the list of marijuana applicants public record and if so where can it be found?

Yes. The list of applicants by status is contained in a spreadsheet on AMCO's website. The spreadsheet is not updated in real time. The spreadsheet will be updated every other week. Applications may have moved to another status with the two weeks between updates of the information reflected in the spreadsheet.

I want to apply for a license. What is the first thing I must do?

Secure a location. All licenses are premises based, meaning that the first question to answer is where the licensed premises will be located. Applicants must demonstrate a right of possession to the property. You must submit a lease or rental agreement if you do not own the property.

How can I find out if the premises where I want to have my business is a place where a marijuana establishment will be permitted?

Zoning is a local issue, other than the buffer zones set out in 3 AAC 306.010. The Marijuana Control Board will only issue licenses connected to a physical place where the license type is allowed by the local government. The Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office cannot advise any potential applicant if the address chosen is locally zoned in such a way that a commercial marijuana establishment would be permitted in that location; contact your local government.

What types of licenses will be available and when will they be issued?

The regulations in 3 AAC 306 provide for six types of marijuana establishment licenses:

  • Retail Marijuana Store
  • Standard Cultivation Facility
  • Limited Cultivation Facility
  • Marijuana Product Manufacturing Facility
  • Marijuana Concentrate Manufacturing Facility
  • Testing Facility

License applications will be taken before the board within 90 days after an application is deemed complete by the director of AMCO, as outlined in the statute and regulations. The exact date of license issuance is dependent upon several factors including the 1) type of license applied for, 2) response time from local governments, and 3) the implementation of the marijuana inventory tracking system.

  1. Type of license and completed application –AS 17.38.100(b) calls for the board to begin accepting and processing applications one year after the effective date of the act; therefore, applications have been accepted beginning on February 24, 2016. The board will deliberate on an application for a license within 90 days after an application is deemed complete by the director. The Marijuana Control Board will issue testing facility and cultivation facility licenses first, with retail store and product manufacturing facility licenses to follow. This sequential issuing of license types is necessary so the latter license types can have legally grown and tracked marijuana in their inventory before opening for business.
  2. Response time from local governments – After the director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office deems an application to be complete, staff will transmit the application to the local government with jurisdiction over the proposed licensed premises. The local government has 60 days from the date of receipt of the notice of the application to file a protest to the application or waive its right to protest. If a protest is received, the Marijuana Control Board will consider the application and protest at its next meeting.
  3. Marijuana inventory tracking system – All marijuana license types will be required to use METRC, the state's marijuana inventory tracking system, to assure that marijuana sold in licensed retail stores was grown, produced and tested by licensed establishments. The board will not issue any licenses before the marijuana inventory tracking system is implemented; the current anticipated date of implementation of METRC is May 23, 2016.
Can I own more than one license?

Yes, with one exception—testing facility licenses are independent of all other license types. According to 3 AAC 306.610, a licensed marijuana testing facility may not have any licensee, employee, or agent who holds any type of marijuana establishment license other than a testing facility license.

Can I get a delivery license?

No. Delivering marijuana to consumers is not permitted under AS 17.38 or 3 AAC 306.

Can I get a dispensary license?

No. The term "dispensary" is used in other legalized marijuana states but does not appear in AS 17.38 or 3 AAC 306. Alaska will license retail marijuana stores.

How many licenses will the MCB issue?

The Marijuana Control Board is not limited in the number of marijuana licenses it can issue at the state level. However, AS 17.38.110(b) provides that local governments can restrict the time, place, manner and number of marijuana licenses. Check with your local government to see if there is a local limit on licenses.

What is the deadline to apply for a license?

There is no deadline to apply. The Marijuana Control Board will continue to accept applications year round and will address applications for licenses at its regularly scheduled meetings throughout the year.

I don't have internet access. How do I apply on a paper form?

By regulation 3 AAC 306.020, applications must be initiated electronically in order for applicants to demonstrate their capability to enter and submit data/documents electronically. You cannot participate in the commercial marijuana industry in Alaska at this time if you do not have internet access. All marijuana licensees are required to use the statewide marijuana inventory tracking system, which is electronic and requires a stable internet connection and basic computer literacy. The application is initiated electronically so applicants can demonstrate to the board that they have the technological resources to enter the industry at this time.

Why do I have to initiate my application online?

By regulation 3 AAC 306.020, applications must be initiated electronically in order for applicants to demonstrate their capability to enter and submit data/documents electronically. All marijuana licensees are required to use the statewide marijuana inventory tracking system, which is electronic and requires a stable internet connection and basic computer literacy. The application is initiated electronically so applicants can demonstrate to the board that they have the technological resources to enter the industry at this time.

What if I need help with the application?

See the FAQ set above concerning questions about the marijuana license applications.

I just need the short version, can you please just tell me what to do to get a license?

It is very important to read and understand the regulations. For those who have questions after reading the regulations, the Frequently Asked Questions, reviewing the instructions and watching the training video, the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office will be setting hours for appointments and walk-ins with questions; the hours will be published on the AMCO website as they are scheduled.

AMCO has a small staff serving a large number of people involved in both the alcoholic beverage and marijuana industries. If it is apparent that you have not read the regulations when you meet with staff, you will lose your appointment until you have read the regulations.

What should I do before applying for a license?

Prepare to submit your application—

1) Read 3 AAC 306 articles 1, 7, 8, 9 and the specific article(s) that pertains to the type of license(s) you plan to apply for. When you apply for a license, you are stating that you have read and understand all of the marijuana regulations, and are prepared to follow them.

2) Work on your operating plan. All license types are required to submit an operating plan with their application. Requirements for the operating plan are set forth in 3 AAC 306.020(c). You can begin drafting your operating plan based on the information requirements outlined in the regulations. .

Are cultivation and testing facilities expected to be 100% ready when we apply for license, or will we have time to finish construction before June 9, when cultivation facility and testing licenses are expected to be issued?

Because the board must approve or deny your application within 90 days from the date your application is deemed complete, you should not initiate your application until you are approximately 90 days from being ready to operate your premises. Remember that construction schedules are often optimistic. The applicant must ensure that their finished facility matches what is laid out in their operating plan. The premises will undergo a preliminary inspection before operations begin.

Because all licenses are premises based, applicants are required to secure a location before applying and must demonstrate a right of possession to the property. You do not have to own it but you must submit a lease or rental agreement if you do not own the property.

Can I take cuttings or clones from my personal use grow for commerical use when my cultivation facility license is issued?

It’s expected that cultivators will either start their plants from seeds or from cuttings only after receiving a license from the Marijuana Control Board. The regulations require that all cuttings that are 8" tall and present on the licensed premises on the day of license issuance be entered into METRC, the marijuana inventory tracking system. After the initial inventory is established, the regulations prohibit personal use marijuana or any marijuana that was not grown in a licensed marijuana cultivation facility and tracked as such being entered into the tracking system.

I would like to run my business idea by you and see if you think it will be good enough. How do I do that?

The AMCO staff cannot answer hypothetical questions or give advice about how the board will respond to a specific operating plan. The application is structured in a way that requires an applicant to outline its operating plan and for the board to review the plan and ultimately grant or deny the license. AMCO staff is not authorized to tell any applicant that their plan is "good enough" to pass the board's review. All hypothetical questions will be referred to the pertinent regulations and the applicant must take on the responsibility of articulating its plan of meeting those regulations to the board.

PERSONAL USE QUESTIONS:

Now that the effective date has passed, can I sell or buy marijuana legally?

No. No marijuana establishment licenses have been issued at this time. The marijuana retail store regulations state that stores may only sell marijuana and marijuana products that have been grown in a licensed marijuana cultivation facility or produced in a licensed marijuana product manufacturing facility. The Marijuana Control Board anticipates beginning to issue cultivation and testing licenses in June 2016, and retail store and product manufacturing licenses in September, 2016.

Only after retail marijuana stores are licensed and have legal products on their shelves will you be able to legally buy marijuana or marijuana products. Only licensed marijuana establishments will be able to sell marijuana or marijuana products. Buying or selling marijuana without a license is illegal and could be prosecuted as a crime. .

Will it continue to be a criminal offense for persons under 21 years of age to possess any amount of marijuana?

Yes. AS 17.38.010 made the use of marijuana legal only for persons 21 years of age or older.

AS 17.38.040 bans public consumption. How is "public" defined?

Based on the emergency regulation filed by Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott on February 24, 2015, in AS 17.38.040, "in public" means in a place to which the public or a substantial group of persons has access and includes highways, transportation facilities, schools, places of amusement or business, parks, playgrounds, prisons, and hallways, lobbies, and other portions of apartment houses and hotels not constituting rooms or apartments designed for actual residence. On November 20, 2015, the Marijuana Control Board amended to definition to exclude marijuana retail stores that have a consumption endorsement issued by the board. No such endorsements have yet been issued; therefore, it continues to be a violation of AS 17.38.040 to consume marijuana in a public place, including unlicensed, unregulated marijuana smoking clubs.

How much harvested marijuana does AS 17.38 allow an unlicensed person to possess in his or her home?

AS 17.38.020 allows for the in-home production and possession of marijuana for personal use. AS 17.38.020 specifies it will be lawful to possess marijuana harvested from up to six plants (three or fewer being mature, flowering plants) on the premises where the plants were grown. The statute does not specify a limit on the amount of harvested marijuana that may be possessed.

If multiple people live in a single residence, can they combine personal-use plant and/or harvested-marijuana limits set forth in AS 17.38.020 to increase the legal limit for the residence?

AS 17.38.020 allows for the in-home production and possession of marijuana for personal use. That statute specified that an adult over the age of 21 may grow up to six plants, up to three of which may be flowering, in their home. The statute is silent on whether there is a household limit on the number of plants that may be grown when more than one adult resides there. There is legislation this session that may establish a 12 plant per household limit. The Marijuana Control Board has clarified through definitions that personal grows and assisting cannot be used to circumvent licensure requirements. See 3 AAC 306.990.

Can a person legally possess more than four ounces of harvested marijuana by establishing an unlicensed cooperative or communal organization or by acting as a proxy for another person?

No.

How does AS 17.38 change the legality of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana?

Marijuana continues to be a controlled substance in Title 11 even after the effective date of AS 17.38. It is a crime under AS 28.35.030 to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of any controlled substance, inhalant, alcoholic beverage, or any combination of those substances. It is a crime to drive a motor vehicle while impaired.

Do persons registered in the Alaska Medical Registry Program as set forth in AS 17.37 receive any benefit or protection beyond that set out in AS 17.38.020?

No. Nothing in AS 17.38 changed any privileges and prohibitions related to medical cards issued per AS 17.37

Can a property owner ban someone from possessing, growing or consuming marijuana on his/her private property?

Yes. AS 17.38.120(d) states that a person, employer, school, hospital, recreation or youth center, correction facility, corporation or any other entity who occupies, owns or controls private property may prohibit or otherwise regulate the possession, consumption, use, display, transfer, distribution, sale, transportation or growing of marijuana on or in that property.

Can I lease some warehouse space and tend to my friend's personal use grows?

No. AS 17.38.020 only permits adults over the age of 21 to possess one ounce and grow 6 plants, with three being mature or flowering. The act permits adults to keep the harvest of their personal use plants on the premises where the plants were grown. You can also transport an ounce or less of marijuana and give an ounce or less to someone else. You cannot buy or sell your personal use marijuana and you cannot combine it with others to make what looks like a commercial grow operation.

FINANCING QUESTIONS:

I am hoping to start a marijuana business. What do I need to know about raising capital for my business?

Seeking investors for your business may involve state and federal securities laws. Before offering securities you should review state and federal securities laws and regulations and consult a professional who is knowledgeable about securities transactions. In almost all cases, prior to meeting certain securities law requirements, you may not advertise to find investors. This prohibition includes print and electronic media including your own website, Facebook, Twitter, and Craigslist.

Offering a security may involve legal and financial consequences that can result in civil liability and money damages to you if you don’t follow the law. Contact the Division of Banking and Securities at (907) 269-8140 or (888) 925-2521 or visit the Division of Banking & Securities for more information.

LOCAL OPTION QUESTIONS:

Will individual communities be able to opt out of allowing commercial marijuana establishments?

Yes. AS 17.38 and 3 AAC 306.200 provide that local governments as defined in AS 17.38.900 can opt out of commercial marijuana establishments by ordinance or petition election. Local government officials interested in the opt-out process should review Article 2 of the regulations.

Where can I find a list of communities that have already opted out?

AMCO has a spread sheet that indicates which communities have opted out. This spreadsheet was created and will be updated by the Division of Community and Regional Affairs monthly based on information gained by surveying local governments. AMCO cannot guarantee that the information on the spreadsheet is accurate because there is no statutory obligation for local governments to inform AMCO or the Marijuana Control Board when they opt out.

Do you maintain a list of municipal zoning ordinances or other local government ordinances related to marijuana?

The DCRA spread sheet indicates which communities have adopted local control ordinances. It does not contain the ordinances themselves. You must check with the local government to access the ordinance. AMCO did not obtain the information in the spreadsheet and there is no legal requirement that local governments report it to us.

I want to open a marijuana business at 123 Sally Street in Medium City, Alaska. Can you tell me if this location will work for me?

The Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office cannot advise any potential applicant if the address chosen is locally zoned in such a way that a commercial marijuana establishment would be permitted in that location. This is a question for your local government.

The 500 foot buffer zone blocks off the location I want to use for a marijuana licensed premises. Can my local government seek a variance from the Marijuana Control Board to allow it?

No. The 500 foot buffer zone is the inside limit for the proximity of a marijuana licensed establishment to a school, youth or recreation center, building where religious services are held, or correctional facility. Please read 3 AAC 306.010(a) to determine how to measure the distance. The 500 foot distance represents the State of Alaska's Drug Free School Zone.

REGULATORY QUESTIONS:

Who wrote the regulations in 3 AAC 306?

The contract attorney, Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office staff, the Marijuana Control Board, the Department of Law, and the public created the final regulatory product together.

The Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office retained Virginia Rusch, a contract attorney who specializes in writing regulations and who worked for the Alaska Attorney General's Office in the Regulations Section for many years. Ms. Rusch and AMCO staff brought drafts of regulations to the Marijuana Control Board (MCB); prior to the MCB members being seated on July 2, 2015, draft regulations were brought to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board as outlined in 17.38.080. The board put sections of regulations out for public comment, reviewed the public comment received, and made many changes to the regulations during 14 separate board meetings in 2015. Once the board adopted the regulations, the Department of Law reviewed the regulations and recommended technical changes. Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallot signed the regulations on January 22, 2016 with an effective date of February 21, 2016.

Where can I get a copy of the marijuana regulations?

You may download and save the final regulations as amended and adopted by the Marijuana Control Board. Because of the length of the packet, if you choose to print the regulations you may want to consider printing two pages on one sheet of paper, i.e., the booklet option on your print properties screen.

The location of the premises I am considering is near a park. Is that allowed?

The only location rules defined by the State of Alaska are the buffer zones set out in 3 AAC 306.010(a), which prohibit a marijuana establishment license from being issued within 500 feet of a school, recreation or youth center (defined in 3 AAC 306.900(35)), a building in which religious services are regularly conducted, or a correctional facility. Please see the regulation for instructions regarding how to measure the distance. All other zoning issues are locally established; contact your local government to inquire about zoning restrictions.

Do the existing regulations allow a home-rule municipality to protest the issuance of a marijuana license? Also, do they preclude home-rule municipalities from charging a permit fee to operate marijuana facilities in city limits?

A home rule municipality is included in the definition of local government. Local governments have a right of protest under the regulations. Local governments can tax marijuana or charge fees for municipal licenses or permits.

TRANSPORTATION OF MARIJUANA:

How much is allowed to be carried for personal possession?

A person 21 years of age or older may possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use

Is there a 5 pound or other limit for transporting commercially?

No, there is no limit on the amount of product that can be legally transferred between licensed marijuana businesses.

Does it have to be carried on or can it be checked, or shipped without a person accompanying it (like goldstreak)?

Any commercial marijuana product that is being transported in accordance with regulations is required to be physically accompanied by an individual with a valid marijuana handler’s permit. That individual is responsible for securing the package during transport and that cannot be accomplished if it leaves their possession.

How does it have to be packaged?

During transport, the marijuana or marijuana product must be in a sealed package or container and in a locked, safe, and secure storage compartment in the vehicle transporting the marijuana or marijuana product. The sealed package may not be opened during transport. 3AAC306.750

What do the permits and manifests look like?

Previously provided to Airport Police.

Who do they contact if they have questions? Enforcement email

Enforcement email amco.enforcement@alaska.gov , Joe Bankowski joe.bankowski@alaska.gov 782-7909, james.hoelscher@alaska.gov .


Department/Division Contact Person Title Email Phone
AMCO Joe Bankowski Investigator III marijuana@alaska.gov (907)269-0350
Banking & Securities George Humm Securities Examiner george.humm@alaska.gov (907)269-8141
Revenue Janis Hales Income & Excise Tax Specialist Janis.hales@alaska.gov (907)269-6627