Marijuana Initiative FAQs
Many Alaskans have questions regarding AS 17.38, the act to tax and regulate the production, sale, and use of marijuana (often referred to as “proposition 2″ or ballot measure 2”). The Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development created this page to provide answers to frequently asked questions.Register to receive notification when new FAQs are added.
What is AS 17.38?
AS 17.38 was passed by citizen’s initiative on the November 4, 2014 ballot. The initiative directs the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (or a new entity if the Legislature chooses to create one) to adopt regulations governing marijuana-related entities and then regulate the newly formed industry. The ABC Board has nine months from the effective date, which is 90 days after certification of the act by the elections division, to develop the regulations. The ABC Board will follow the intent of the initiative and state requirements for the development of new regulations.
PERSONAL USE QUESTIONS:
No. Per AS 15.45.220, the act becomes effective 90 days after certification. Until that date, all current statutes and regulations relating to marijuana are in full force and effect.
Four ounces or less—AS 17.38.020 allows for the in-home production and possession of marijuana for personal use. The Alaska Court of Appeals in Noy v. State, 80 P.3d 255 (Alaska App. 2003) ruled that possession of marijuana in an amount greater than four ounces is not personal use possession. Additionally, AS 17.38.020 specifies it will be lawful to possess marijuana harvested from up to six plants (three or fewer being mature, flowering plants) on the premises where the plants were grown.
AS 17.38 does not change the existing Alaska law regarding weight determinations. AS 11.71.080 provides that the aggregate weight of live marijuana plants is 1/6 of actual plant weight, after roots are removed. When not dealing with live plants, marijuana weight is to be determined by the actual weight of the substance in its commonly used form (i.e., seeds, leaves, bud, and flower) at the time it is possessed. See Noy v. State, 80 P.3d 255 (Alaska App. 2003); Maness v. State, 49 P.3d 1128(Alaska App. 2002);Atkinson v. State, 869 P.2d 486 (Alaska App. 1994); and Gibson v. State, 719 P.2d 687 (Alaska 1986). AS 17.38.900(6) clarifies that the weight of marijuana that is incorporated into food products is the weight of the incorporated marijuana, not the weight of the entire food product.
Marijuana will continue to be a controlled substance following the effective date of the initiative. Therefore, it will still be a crime under AS 28.35.030 to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of any controlled substance, inhalant, alcoholic beverage, or any combination of those substances.
No. AS 17.38 does not change Alaska law regarding the definition and application of the legal concept of possession. See AS 11.81.900(49) and Nelson v. State, 628 P.2d 884 (Alaska 1981) for further information.
Yes. AS 17.38.120(d) states that a person, employer, school, hospital, recreation or youth center, correction facility, corporation or any other entity who occupies, owns or controls private property may prohibit or otherwise regulate the possession, consumption, use, display, transfer, distribution, sale, transportation or growing of marijuana on or in that property. Persons who violate the policy are subject to prosecution for the misdemeanor offense of criminal trespass in violation of AS 18.104.22.1680.
PRODUCTION & SALE QUESTIONS:
The types of licenses and process for acquiring them have yet to be determined. AS 17.38 gives the State of Alaska nine months to develop regulations for licensing.
No. AS 17.38 gives the State of Alaska nine months to develop regulations for licensing marijuana growers and sellers. These regulations must be written and codified before individuals or businesses may apply for licenses. The board will start accepting applications by February 24, 2016 and will act on them within 90 days of receipt of application.
No. Persons who are not licensed to engage in delivery, manufacture, and testing will continue to be subject to prosecution for AS 11.71 criminal statue offenses. It is anticipated that licenses will be issued by May 2016 per the timeline described in AS 17.38. As of the effective date, personal use as described in AS 17.38.020 will be legal.
Seeking investors for your business may involve state and federal securities laws. Before offering securities you should review state and federal securities laws and regulations and consult a professional who is knowledgeable about securities transactions. In almost all cases, prior to meeting certain securities law requirements, you may not advertise to find investors. This prohibition includes print and electronic media including your own website, Facebook, Twitter, and Craigslist.
Offering a security may involve legal and financial consequences that can result in civil liability and money damages to you if you don’t follow the law. Contact the Division of Banking and Securities at (907) 269-8140 or (888) 925-2521 or visit the Division of Banking & Securities for more information.
LOCAL OPTION QUESTIONS:
Yes. AS 17.38 provides for local option elections that permit a community in Alaska to opt out of manufacture and sales of marijuana. Communities will continue to be bound by authority regarding individual constitutional privacy rights as set forth by the Supreme Court in Ravin v. Alaska.
The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has been tasked with drafting the regulations relating to the manufacture and sale of marijuana products. Alternatively, AS 17.38.080 authorizes the legislature to create a separate Marijuana Control Board to assume the power, duties and responsibility.
AS 17.38.900 defines the ABC Board as responsible for adopting regulations as outlined in AS 17.38.090 unless the legislature creates a separate Marijuana Control Board as authorized in AS 17.38.080.
November 4, 2014 – Statewide election held. Ballot Measure 2 passes 53% to 47%.
November 24, 2014 – Vote certified by Division of Elections. Statues will be enacted by operation of law 90 days later.
January 20, 2015 – Legislature gavels in. Multiple bills related to the marijuana industry are anticipated.
February 24, 2015 – Statutes are enacted. The nine month deadline for developing regulations begins.
April 19, 2015 – Legislature scheduled to adjourn.
November 24, 2015 – Deadline for the board to adopt regulations; if not adopted by this date, local governments have the option of establishing their own regulations. Final regulations package submitted to the Governor’s Office and Department of Law for review and approval.
February 24, 2016 – Board must start accepting applications and must act on them within 90 days of receipt of application. If the board has not adopted regulations, applications may be submitted directly to local regulatory authorities.
March 26, 2016 – Tentative effective date of regulations; effective date will be 30 days after the Lt. Governor’s Office files the approved regulations.
May 24, 2016 – Initial marijuana industry licenses expected to be awarded.