Pubdate: Fri, 02 Jan 2015
Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (AK)
Copyright: 2015 Fairbanks Publishing Company, Inc.
Author: Amanda Bohman


FAIRBANKS - A marijuana symposium in Colorado in two weeks is drawing 
a large delegation from Alaska.

At least a dozen people are attending from various levels of 
government and law enforcement. The conference is called "Marijuana 
Impact on Public Health and Safety in Colorado."

The three-day conference in Lone Tree, Colorado, starts Jan. 14. Lone 
Tree is a suburb of Denver.

"We are just trying to learn as much as we can from what Colorado has 
already experienced," said Brad Johnson, deputy chief of the 
Fairbanks Police Department.

Voters approved a ballot measure in November that will make it legal 
to grow, possess and sell marijuana in Alaska.

State and local governments are beginning to figure out how the new 
marijuana industry is going to work.

Johnson is attending the conference as a delegate from the Alaska 
Association of Chiefs of Police. Joining him will be Lt. Eric Jewkes, 
of the Fairbanks Police Department.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough planning director is attending the 
conference, as is the North Pole police chief.

Legalized marijuana is a radical change in the law for the community 
of North Pole, which took a hard line on possession and use of the drug.

"We have always had a mandatory arrest for it," North Pole Police 
Chief Steve Dutra said. "We took a strict approach to it so there 
would be some community condemnation.

"We have relaxed that standard," Dutra said. "We still forward 
charges, but we are no longer arresting people."

Dutra has a lot of questions about how the new law is going to work, he said.

"I think the biggest issues we are going to face are distribution 
issues," the police chief said.

The list of invited speakers at the conference in the Centennial 
State includes people from a range of Colorado's government agencies 
starting with the governor. The state directors of marijuana 
enforcement and marijuana coordination also are listed as speakers.

Colorado law enforcement will be represented. A speaker from the 
Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment is also listed.

Attending from the state of Alaska will be representatives from the 
Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, the Department of Revenue and the 
Attorney General's office, said Grace Jang, a spokeswoman for Gov. Bill Walker.

Jang said the Municipality of Anchorage is sending people to the 
conference, including some attorneys, a tax director and deputy 
chiefs from the police department.

The conference includes sessions on home grows, edibles and a panel 
that will discuss driving under the influence of marijuana.

Also to be discussed will be impacts on local communities and state 
and federal relations. In addition, the economic impact of legalized 
marijuana will be discussed.

The Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police is holding the 
conference in conjunction with Jensen Public Affairs, a lobbying 
firm. The conference costs $325 to attend.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom