Alaska lawmakers considering expungement bill

Last update: January 23, 2020


Although Alaska voters legalized marijuana back in 2014, many Alaskans find themselves limited by criminal histories that remain frozen in time, even as states continue to update cannabis laws. 

In 2019, Sen. Tom Begich introduced SB 8, which would help protect individuals who got in trouble when laws were different. The Alaska Legislature reconvened on January 21 for the second half of its two-year session, and SB 8 is still pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Please ask your lawmakers to support this sensible reform.

Alaska lawmakers have a chance to stop derailing lives for some old cannabis convictions. Criminal records can make it difficult to get a job, housing, or further one’s education. Many Alaskans are still haunted by records for conduct that is now legal.

SB 8’s record sealing would apply to those who were not charged with any other type of offense and would be limited to marijuana cases involving less than an ounce.

Alaska officially first state to license onsite cannabis consumption 


In March 2019, Alaska Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer signed off on statewide rules allowing onsite use of marijuana at specially authorized stores.

Retail businesses interested in participating must apply for a special onsite use endorsement and devise plans that meet security, ventilation, and other standards required by the Marijuana Control Board. Local governments can object to onsite consumption endorsements and use a municipal ordinance or a vote of the people to prohibit onsite use or aspects of it, such as smoking.

In July 2019, state regulators rejected the first application under consideration from an Alaska cannabis retailer seeking an onsite use endorsement, citing problems with interpreting the rules for such businesses. In August, the Fairbanks City Council voted to approve the application, but the business must still win an appeal from the state Marijuana Control Board. 

As it stands, until the board clarifies aspects of the state regulations related to onsite consumption, there are still hurdles that businesses will likely face when seeking an endorsement. In July, the board voted to have Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office staff work on refining aspects of the state regulations for onsite consumption. Stay tuned for further updates.

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