Pubdate: Wed, 31 Dec 2014
Source: Alaska Dispatch News (AK)
Copyright: 2014 Alaska Dispatch Publishing
Note: Anchorage Daily News until July '14
Author: Suzanna Caldwell


Gov. Bill Walker announced Tuesday he now has confidence Alaska 
marijuana regulations will be implemented on schedule, after saying 
earlier this month he was exploring the possibility of extending the 
timeline for developing regulations.

In a written statement, Walker said he had met with leaders from the 
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, 
Department of Revenue and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to 
discuss the issue.

Ballot Measure 2 specifically gives the state nine months to craft 
marijuana regulations after the measure goes into effect on Feb. 24.

"We have strong, cooperative leadership heading up implementation of 
this very important act," Walker said in the release. "They assured 
me that we can meet the statutory and regulatory timelines outlined 
in the initiative that voters passed in November. I'm confident that 
we will be diligent in our efforts to make sure we have adequate 
regulations for this new industry in place and on time."

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which is currently handling the 
regulations unless a Marijuana Control Board is created, has already 
indicated that they believe they will be able to implement the 
regulations in the nine-month period.

The release also said the Department of Public Safety, Department of 
Health and Social Services, and the Department of Environmental 
Conservation are all working closely with DCCED to "ensure seamless 
enforcement" of Alaska marijuana law.

Alaska marijuana advocates had expressed concern following Walker's 
announcement of a possible delay. On Tuesday, The Campaign to 
Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska said in an email they 
appreciate Walker's leadership on the issue and that he is "engaging 
proactively in the process."

"We look forward to working with Gov. Walker and state leaders to 
build a strong regulatory framework that will reverse the failures of 
marijuana prohibition while also creating new jobs and much-needed 
revenue for our state," said Tim Hinterberger, one of the co-sponsors 
of Ballot Measure 2.

The ABC Board also announced it had updated its list of frequently 
asked questions about marijuana Tuesday, adding information on the 
timeline for legalization. The board said it expects to begin 
accepting applications for marijuana business licenses by Feb. 24, 
2016. The first licenses should be awarded by late May 2016.

The board also included a section on financing in its updated FAQ, 
noting that investors should be aware of securities and banking law 
before engaging in a marijuana-related business.

As an example, said Kevin Anselm, director of the Alaska Division of 
Banking and Securities under DCCED, it's illegal to try to secure 
investors through advertising, even on Craigslist or Facebook.

Securing financing has been one of the trickiest parts of 
establishing marijuana businesses in other states, since federal law 
still expressly prohibits the substance, often making banks leery of 
lending to marijuana entrepreneurs. Anselm said the division hasn't 
had any marijuana businesses reach out to them directly, but they're 
expecting an influx of businesses as a result of legalization.

"There are ways to raise money from friends, family and neighbors 
without getting in trouble," Anselm said. "... Alaska is open for 
business. It just has to be done appropriately."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom