Attorney Jana Weltzin argues anti-smoking and cannabis bill is bad for Alaska

by Jeremy Kossen in Examiner

When cannabis legalization took effect in February 2015, Alaska became the fourth state in the country to permit adult-use cannabis. Later that year, in November, Alaska appeared poised to be the only state to allow cannabis cafes and limited public cannabis use. Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board voted 3-2 in favor of allowing the consumption of cannabis in certain cannabis retail outlets.

However, on March 30, 2015, the Alaska Senate passed Senate Bill 1 — introduced by Sen. Pete Micciche (R-Soldotna) — that would effectively ban all onsite consumption of cannabis. Rep. David Talerico (R-District 6) proposed companion bill — House Bill 328: Regulation of Smoking — which will have a hearing before the Health and Social Services Committee.

Under pressure by the American Cancer Society to ban smoking statewide, Senate testimony and debate focused primarily on tobacco products. Senators did not discuss the effect the bill may have on Alaska’s emerging cannabis industry, yet both Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 328, clearly target cannabis.

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