By BECKY BOHRER
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska regulators were applauded Thursday as they approved the first licenses for legal marijuana growing and testing facilities – another milestone for the fledgling industry.
Priority was being given to growing and testing operations to ensure that retail stores will have legal product to sell. The first retail licenses are expected to be issued later this year.
Thirty applications were on the agenda Thursday at a meeting of the Marijuana Control Board in Anchorage. Two were for testing facilities. The rest were for grow operations.
The first application approved came from CannTest LLC of Anchorage, a marijuana testing facility. The action was greeted by applause and cheers.
“That’s history right there, folks,” board member Brandon Emmett said.
Businesses that were granted licenses still need to clear national background checks and, in some cases, complete local requirements.
Mark Malagodi, CEO of CannTest LLC, said it felt good. “It’s just the first hurdle,” he said. “It’s a big one and it’s really exciting.”
Testing facilities will play an important role in the industry because cultivators and processors must have their product tested for such things as potency and potential toxins.
It’s not yet clear how many testing facilities the industry will need because the amount of product to be examined has not yet been determined, board member Bruce Schulte said Wednesday. Alaska needs at least one functioning lab, he said.
“Whether the right number is two or four or one, that remains to be seen,” said Schulte, who served as board chair until Thursday, when a new chair was elected.
Both businesses approved for testing licenses are in Anchorage. But getting samples to the labs could be tricky for businesses in communities not connected to the road system.
Marijuana has been legalized in Alaska but is still prohibited under federal law.
Cynthia Franklin, director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Board, said she’s not sure the state will get a definitive answer from the U.S. Postal Service about shipping by mail.
She noted, however, that state regulations authorize the transport marijuana samples from a licensed facility to a licensed testing site. An accompanying transportation manifest would make clear the items are being sent in compliance with state regulations, she said.
Franklin also noted that in Portland, Oregon, where recreational pot is also legal, the airport permits people to transport marijuana within the state and federal officials haven’t moved in to stop the practice.
Jeremy Woodrow, a spokesman for the state ferry system, said it’s in a tough spot because it’s regulated by the U.S. Coast Guard. Ferry officials have tried to be as lenient as possible within the confines of the state law, allowing travelers to carry pot that meets personal use limits of one ounce or less, he said.
Use on board is banned and any larger amounts could be reported to the Coast Guard, he said.
The system isn’t telling anyone not to bring marijuana on board but anyone who does needs to know the risk, he said.
Bobbie Egan, a spokeswoman for Alaska Airlines, said the airline has no formal policy at this time but it is something that is being evaluated.
Navigating Child Protective Services When You Use Cannabis
What’s in Your Stash? Autumn Saylor, Stay-at-Home Mom, Treating PTSD With Cannabis
Study Finds Legal Cannabis Reduces Illicit Grows in National Forests
Someone Planted 34 Cannabis Plants in the Vermont Statehouse Flower Beds
House Votes to Protect States With Legal Marijuana From Feds
Two Plead Guilty to Using United States Postal Service to Traffic Marijuana
Honoring the Legend: Jack Herer
Raid of Massive Illegal Cannabis Grow Site in California Took Four Days to Complete
News6 days ago
What Was Said at Today’s Congressional Hearing on Federal Marijuana Law Reform
Health6 days ago
The Pechoti Method: Can You Put Weed in Your Belly Button?
News7 days ago
New Subscription Service Ships Concentrates Directly to Consumers
Entertainment7 days ago
Jay-Z Announces Partnership With Top Cannabis Company Caliva
News4 days ago
Coast Guard Busts Submarine Carrying Over $500 Million Worth of Cocaine, Weed
News4 days ago
Florida Court Rules Medical Marijuana Licensing Law Unconstitutional
Health5 days ago
Cannabis and Mental Health: Schizophrenia
News6 days ago
Hawaii Officially Decriminalizes Small Quantities of Cannabis