Pubdate: Tue, 11 Nov 2014
Source: Alaska Dispatch News (AK)
Copyright: 2014 Alaska Dispatch Publishing
Note: Anchorage Daily News until July '14
Author: Suzanna Caldwell


Legislators still have months to pre-file legislation, but one 
Anchorage representative says he hopes to start a conversation about 
drafting marijuana regulations early, after Alaskans voted last week 
to legalize recreational marijuana.

Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, said he plans to introduce legislation in 
January dealing with several elements of marijuana regulations and safety.

Lynn's bill, currently in draft form, addresses three key marijuana 
sales issues: Restricting marijuana establishments to a certain 
distance from schools, churches, recreation and youth centers or 
public parks; limiting advertising; and barring individuals convicted 
of a felony from working in or owning a marijuana establishment.

Lynn's office began looking at drafting legislation days before the 
election in the event the measure passed. Lynn personally opposed 
Ballot Measure 2, the initiative legalizing recreational marijuana in 
Alaska, but said the people have spoken and now it's time to move forward.

"Basically to me it's a matter of public safety," he said Monday.

Lynn said the legislation provides a framework for legislators to 
start discussions dealing with marijuana concerns. The initiative 
already allows restrictions on advertising, zoning and other business 
elements to be regulated, but it does not specify how. Writers of the 
initiative said leaving that information out was an intentional 
effort to give lawmakers more control during the regulatory process.

Lynn said details like the distance limit could be changed as the 
bill makes its way toward a vote. Lynn's bill currently restricts 
marijuana establishments from being within 500 feet of any restricted 
properties. Alaska statutes prohibit alcohol from being within 200 
feet of any school. In Washington state, marijuana and alcohol 
establishments must be 1,000 feet away from such buildings.

Lynn said as the process moves forward, he expects plenty of 
discussion from lawmakers and regulators as they draft marijuana rules.

"I want to have something as a discussion point," Lynn said.

Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Director Cynthia Franklin said the 
issues Lynn addresses could be dealt with by the ABC board or a 
potential marijuana control board, but was not surprised to see a 
legislator already working toward clarifying the initiative.

"(Lynn) is getting out ahead and we expect other legislators to do 
the same," she said.

The rulemaking process is a bit of a balance between statutes from 
the initiative, amendments added from the Legislature and regulations 
stemming from the created statutes. Franklin said citizen's 
initiatives often have gaps that are addressed with amendments by the 
Legislature. If there are still gaps once statutes are enacted, then 
the ABC board will address them during the regulatory process.

Franklin said to expect the restrictions to be practical, but strict 
- -- similar to alcohol control in the state.

"In the end, it will all balance out," she said.

Lynn said he hadn't heard from any legislators also working on 
marijuana bills, but did not rule out that others might exist. He 
said the marijuana initiative was mentioned briefly at the House 
Majority leadership meeting last week, but it remained unclear if the 
issue would be a priority during the session.

"I hope so," Lynn said.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom