February 2, 2015

Cannabis Cafes Coming To Anchorage

February 2, 2015
alaska marijuana legalization

alaska marijuana legalizationOne of my favorite things to do is go to cannabis cafes. They are very popular in Oregon, and have been for a few years. I went to one in Keizer, Oregon that is kind of like a cafe that doubles as a rec center for OMMP members. There are few things as fun as playing Bingo while taking dab hits. Cannabis cafes are coming to Anchorage, Alaska too. Per Reason:

But unlike the Denver City Council, which has not seen fit to allow cannabis consumption in any business open to the public, the Anchorage Assembly approved an amendment that makes an exception for consumption “authorized by a state permit or license or authorized by a municipal permit or lease.” That provision leaves open the possibility of businesses that cater to people, including tourists, who want to use marijuana in a setting other than a private residence.

Measure 2, Alaska’s legalization initiative, says “it is unlawful to consume marijuana in public” and prescribes a $100 civil fine for violators, but it does not define public. The Anchorage Assembly settled on a broad definition that nevertheless contemplates cannabis cafés. Depending on how the state legislature decides to regulate marijuana retailers (which are not expected to start opening until next year), those cafés might sell marijuana products alongside food and beverages, à la Amsterdam’s “coffee shops,” or they might be limited to nonintoxicating refreshments for customers who bring their own marijuana. Either way, tolerating such businesses will help avoid a conundrum faced by visitors to Colorado and Washington, where the rules governing consumption are fuzzy and in some jurisdictions highly restrictive. “We voted to control it like alcohol,” Joanne Henning of the Alaska Cannabis Association told the Ancorage Assembly, which last December overwhelmingly rejected a ban on marijuana shops. ”We want a safe place to consume it like alcohol.”

It will be a bit before recreational marijuana stores pop up in Alaska, and with a moratorium in place in Anchorage, it could be even longer before legal purchases occur in Alaska’s capital. But, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still going to be business opportunities in Alaska prior to store licenses being issued. Cannabis cafes are something entrepreneurs should look into in the meantime.


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