Pubdate: Sat, 23 Apr 2016
Source: Alaska Dispatch News (AK)
Copyright: 2016 Alaska Dispatch Publishing
Note: Anchorage Daily News until July '14
Author: Laurel Andrews


Alaska marijuana business owners will be subject to national 
background checks if a bill that passed the Senate on Friday morning 
is signed into law.

Senate Bill 165 deals mainly with Alaska's alcohol regulations, 
including a provision to greatly reduce minor consumption penalties. 
The bill passed the Senate during the fifth day of overtime for the 
Legislature and now heads to Gov. Bill Walker's desk for his signature.

A provision in the bill authorizes the Marijuana Control Board to 
conduct national background checks on business applicants, a key 
component for the entity tasked with approving the first licenses for 
Alaska's fledgling legal cannabis industry.

"We're glad it passed and are very appreciative of everybody that was 
involved," said Marijuana Control Board chair Bruce Schulte.

Potential marijuana businesses have gotten letters saying their 
applications will remain incomplete until a background check can be 
conducted -- although a marijuana attorney called the issue a "red 
herring" that shouldn't have stalled applications.

If the bill is signed into law, applicants will submit fingerprints 
for a national background check through the FBI.

When asked whether Walker is expected to sign the bill, spokeswoman 
Grace Jang wrote that the Department of Law needs to review the 
legislation first.

Meanwhile, the House bill with identical language  HB75 -- remains 
locked in a conference committee.

The House and Senate have been unable to agree on differing versions 
of the bill, including a controversial measure to ban marijuana sales 
in the unorganized borough. The bill has been in conference committee 
since April 6 and recent hearings have been canceled.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom