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Amsterdam-Style Pot Cafes? What Consumption Rooms in Alaska Could Look Like

Mona Zhang

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The Alaska Marijuana Control Board has drafted rules that would allow for on-site consumption of cannabis, reports the Alaska Dispatch News, making Alaska the first and only legal-cannabis state to pursue such a measure.

Could tourists soon be heading to the Last Frontier instead of Amsterdam?

Under the proposed rules, cannabis dispensaries in Alaska would have to apply for a consumption license, which must be separate from the retail side of the business. They could be indoor or outdoor establishments, but must have their own entrances, service areas and ventilation system. Patrons would have to purchase weed at the shop on-site (no BYOBud), and the amount—limited to a single transaction—would be capped at one gram of flower, a 10 mg edible or 0.25 grams of concentrates.

Consumers in legal markets in the U.S. currently have no place to legally consume cannabis except in their own homes. This poses a problem for tourists, who are increasingly traveling to legally partake. A study conducted last year by the Colorado Tourism Office found that 48 percent of summer travelers chose to visit the state in part because of legal recreational pot. But with public consumption still banned, tourists must find a 420-friendly Airbnb or hit up one of the privately owned weed-themed B&Bs.

Veteran cannabis consumers will immediately see the problem with these limits. A 10 mg edible might be a sufficient dose for a newbie, but nowhere near enough for a regular edibles consumer. Meanwhile, a gram of flower will net you a pretty fat joint, and 0.25 grams of a concentrate would give at least a few generous dabs.

Employees would be tasked with making sure people don't overindulge and are not permitted to sell to an intoxicated person. And unlike bars in the state—which have no rules prohibiting bartenders from drinking on the job—employees at a cannabis business would not be allowed to partake on the clock.

If a consumer cannot finish all the cannabis, they can't just take it home with them.

"They would have to leave it behind to be destroyed," reported Dispatch News.

The proposed rules also ban happy hours, contests and deliveries to avoid encouraging over-consumption. Although not allowing consumers to keep unfinished weed could promote just that.

The proposed rules allow food to be served (munchies!) and non-alcoholic drinks (got cottonmouth?). Coffee shops in Amsterdam have similar offerings, but in Amsterdam, the limit per transaction for flower is five grams, and consumers are allowed to keep their unfinished bud. Age limits differ too: 21-and-up for Alaska, 18-and-up for the Netherlands.

The board approved the rule last November, and its draft regulations now head to the public for comment.

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