Mar 042016
 March 4, 2016

alaska marijuana legalizationBackers of the 2014 initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Alaska are urging legislators to oppose a measure that would severely limit marijuana business locations and access to marijuana for adults in rural Alaska. The amendment was recently snuck into HB 75, an otherwise non-controversial bill intended to clarify marijuana rules following the passage of Ballot Measure 2.

HB 75 was originally intended to establish the maximum number of marijuana plants that can be cultivated per household and define key terms in the law. It was recently expanded to allow the state government to request background checks on marijuana business applicants, at which time Sen. Lyman F. Hoffman (D – Dist. S) introduced an amendment that would make it very difficult to establish marijuana businesses in any unincorporated area of the state.

“Alaskans spoke loud and clear when they adopted Ballot Measure 2, and this amendment would defy the will of the voters,” said Tim Hinterberger, an official proponent of Ballot Measure 2 who served as chair of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “It is disappointing that some senators would use the state’s need for background checks as an opportunity to ban marijuana businesses in rural Alaska. We strongly urge members of the House to oppose this offensive proposal and either amend HB 75 or oppose it and address background checks in a separate bill.”

If legislators approve the proposed amendment, marijuana businesses would be banned in all unincorporated areas of the state. They would only be allowed in an area if residents petition to place a measure on the ballot and area voters approve it during an election. Marijuana businesses would be permanently banned in unorganized boroughs where a petitioning process is not available.

“This amendment would prevent me and others in my community from being able to start a business and participate in Alaska’s new regulated marijuana system,” said Rich Holmstrom, who owns property along the Denali Highway. “We have every right to do that under Ballot Measure 2, and we shouldn’t have to petition to place another measure on the ballot and vote again. All we’re asking is that legislators follow the law that voters approved in 2014.”

Source: Alaska Measure 2 campaign press release

About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
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  • Niki Raapana

    Thanks for this post! I have a lot of homework and catching up to do on this whole issue of banning marijuana businesses permanently in unincorporated areas. Time to kick it into full gear and stay on TOP of this amendment!

  • Niki Raapana

    I interviewed an aide at Senator Hoffman’s office and this amendment came at the request of the Marijuana Control Board.

  • Julie Olsen

    To get cannabis removed from Schedule 1 – vote Bernie Sanders! He is the ONLY Presidential candidate stating that he will reclassify marijuana. Come out to the Democratic caucus in your area on March 26th. In Anchorage it is at West High School at 9:00 am. You can register to vote or change your registration there. To find other caucus sites go to alaskademocrats.org. Please come out and vote and bring your friends – we need your help!