Talking Points for Advocates in Support of On-Site Consumption Rules
Since Alaska’s first cannabis retail store opened on October 29, 2016, the Marijuana Control Board has considered where consumers could go to consume cannabis that is not a private residence. The board is now poised to adopt proposed rules that would allow a retail store to receive an endorsement from the state for on-site consumption, and a public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, December 19. Please consider attending in person or by telephone.
What: Public hearing – on-site marijuana consumption endorsements
Where: State of Alaska Crime Lab, 4805 Dr. MLK Jr. Avenue, Anchorage
When: Wednesday, December 19, 2018 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
A conference line is available for those who cannot attend in person at 1-800-315-6338, access code 69176. A copy of the proposed rules is available online here, and official notice for the hearing is posted online here.
See below for tips for testifying, talking points, and a summary of the proposed rules.
Tips for Testifying
- Be polite! How you advocate is as important as what you say. As strongly as some support this proposal, inflammatory remarks will only hurt our chances of persuading board members.
- Keep comments short. There will likely be many who want an opportunity to speak, and short comments that get to the point are often most effective. Often three minutes is enough.
- Personal stories. If this issue impacts you directly and you feel comfortable sharing it, please do so. Personal stories resonate and are often the most effective while testifying.
Suggested Talking Points
- Adult cannabis consumers need a place to go when a private residence isn’t an option. This is particularly true for tourists who are caught in a catch-22.
- These rules are carefully considered and would protect consumers, workers, and the public.
- Law enforcement should be able to direct consumers to regulated locations where they can legally consume cannabis, away from sidewalks, parks, parking lots, or other public locations.
- Bars and restaurants commonly serve alcohol. Cannabis consumers should not be treated like second-class citizens, limited only to private homes.
- Lawmakers provided clear direction to the board this year on how to establish on-site use locations. These are reasonable standards that can benefit everyone.
- If we don’t adopt this solution, the fundamental problem of access will simply continue.
Summary of On-Site Rules
- Retailers that obtain endorsements could sell up to one gram of cannabis, and edibles containing up to 10mg THC for use on site in designated areas. Concentrates would not be available for sale.
- Businesses must establish an isolated area separated by walls and a secure door and include safety features and a smoke-free area for employees to monitor the consumption area.
- Local communities could adopt additional rules for businesses, such as whether cannabis can be smoked or vaped, or what rules apply to outdoor consumption.
- In addition to regulating, local communities could also prohibit cannabis businesses from seeking on-site endorsements.
- An initial license application fee for the on-site endorsement would be $1,000, and the annual license cost would be $2,000. Because locations are also separately licensed as retailers, additional fees would apply.
- Retailers could offer non-cannabis food and non-alcoholic beverage items for sale.
- Sale or use of both alcohol and tobacco products would be prohibited.
- Individuals could not “bring their own.” Cannabis consumed on site must be purchased at that location.
- “Happy hour” or other types of promotions would be prohibited, similar to comparable restrictions for alcohol establishments.
- The rules include provisions to keep the air clear, including ventilation systems that meet specific requirements:
- No visible smoke may exit the building
- There can be no odor beyond the property line
- Air handling equipment must convey air outside and use a filter
- Nuisance provisions apply to help protect neighbors from ventilation
- Abandoned or unused cannabis would be destroyed, and retailers would be required to make educational material available for each type of product sold.
A complete copy of the proposed set of rules is available online at https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/Attachment.aspx?id=113809.