Alaska's marijuana board holds first meeting, wants changes to laws
FAIRBANKS—The newly appointed Marijuana Control Board's first meeting ran nearly six meandering hours as its members settled into their new roles, but it produced a list of four proposed changes to Alaska's marijuana laws.
The board, by unanimous vote, signed off on a wish list of statutory changes it wants the Alaska Legislature to change in last year's ballot measure that legalized commercial marijuana. The board met in Fairbanks.
The four issues include allowing cannabis clubs, updating the criminal law, clarifying the difference between a personal grow and an illegal operation, and giving villages the ability to opt out of commercial marijuana sales.
During the campaign, sponsors said communities and villages that didn't want commercial marijuana sales could opt out, but the language used in the initiative is proving to be a problem.
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State House passes recreational marijuana reform bill
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - The House on Friday passed a measure that makes several changes to the state's new recreational marijuana market, including eliminating the three-tier tax structure and replacing it with a single excise tax of 37 percent at the point of sale.
House Bill 2136 passed the House on a 59-38 vote and now heads to the Senate for consideration. An amendment that passed Friday removed language from the original bill that would have only allowed local bans on licensed marijuana businesses if approved by the jurisdiction's voters.
To encourage more cities and counties to allow marijuana businesses, the bill directs the state to share pot revenue with jurisdictions that do so. It would also allow them to adopt more flexible zoning for where pot grows and stores can be located.
The original bill had set the excise tax rate at 30 percent, and Rep. Reuven Carlyle, a Democrat from Seattle who sponsored the measure, said that he personally believes the 37 percent rate negotiated with the Senate "is a mistake."
"But we find ourselves at a time of political addiction to the shaky perception of a new revenue pillar that is questionable at best," he said, noting budget assumptions of how much the new market might bring to the state. "I acknowledge that it is irresistible to some. I think we will come to regret that."
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