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Alaska Cannabis Compliance Regulations and Laws for Businesses

Alaska Cannabis Compliance Regulations and Laws for Businesses

Posted by Custom Cones USA on May 26th 2022

Alaska was the third state to legalize recreational marijuana under Measure 2 in 2014 and officially opened its first legal dispensaries in 2016. And after seven years, the Alaskan cannabis market shows no signs of slowing down.

There were only 93 dispensaries in 2018, but now the state now boasts over 200 and has no state cap on licensing.

Below, we’ve laid out some of the most important laws affecting those wanting to open cannabis businesses in Alaska, the rocky road to legalization, and anything else you could want to know about cannabis in the Last Frontier.

The Legalization Process

In 1975, Alaska became the second state to decriminalize cannabis, just after Oregon. The same year, the Alaskan Supreme Court ruled in Ravin v. State that the state’s right to privacy laws protected an individual’s ability to have a small amount of cannabis for personal use at home.

This made Alaska the first and only state to make private marijuana use and possession a constitutional right.

The state took its next step when medical marijuana was legalized in 1998. Recreational legalization didn’t seem too far off, but multiple attempts to do so failed in following years. Cannabis possession was even recriminalized in 2006 as a wave of modern “reefer madness” fear swept the country.

Full recreational legalization was finally achieved in November 2014 when Measure 2 passed with 53.23% of Alaskans in favor.

Alaska Cannabis Laws

Who can legally sell cannabis in Alaska?

Anyone who has received their retail marijuana store license is able to legally sell cannabis in Alaska, with a few restrictions. All individuals with a direct or indirect financial interest in the business must be Alaskan residents and cannot have any of the following on their criminal record:

  • Conviction of a felony
  • Conviction of selling alcohol in violation of state law
  • Misdemeanor involving controlled substances
  • Misdemeanor relating to the distribution or sale of cannabis within two years prior to applying

What cannabis licenses are available in Alaska?

There are currently six types of marijuana licenses available in Alaska:

  • Standard Cultivation Facility License (for growing operations without a size limit)
  • Limited Cultivation Facility License (for growing operations under 500 square feet)
  • Marijuana Product Manufacturing Facility License
  • Marijuana Concentrate Manufacturing Facility License
  • Testing Facility License

All of the above licenses can be received from the Alaska Marijuana Control Office (AMCO) by applying at their site and following all of the proper steps for each license. There is currently no cap on any Alaskan licenses, however local governments are able to place their own restrictions on licenses.

What do I apply for a cannabis license in Alaska?

Regardless of the type of license you wish to apply for, all of the following items are required to complete a cannabis license application in Alaska. You can find the full application instructions here.

  • A complete online license application
  • Appropriate application certifications and affidavits
  • Operating plan, diagram, and proof of possession for the proposed premises
  • Entity disclosure forms and a statement of financial interest for all applicants
  • Fingerprint cards and fees
  • Licensing fees
  • License-Type-Specific documents and fees

There are also a number of fees and documents required when renewing your license each year.

Does Alaska offer licenses for social equity businesses?

No, Alaska currently has no state social equity program for the cannabis industry and offers no fee waivers or reductions for social equity businesses. This is currently under review, but it is not something you should count on if you are considering getting into the cannabis business in Alaska.

What are the packaging requirements for cannabis in Alaska?

There are a few requirements that must be included in the design of cannabis packaging in Alaska:

  • Packaging for cannabis products must be opaque, resealable, and child-resistant (significantly difficult for children 5 and under to open)
  • A name or logo identifying the store it was purchased from along with their license number must appear on the packaging
  • The following informational statements must be printed on the packaging
    1. “Marijuana impairs concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under its influence”
    2. “There are health risks associated with consumption of marijuana”
    3. “For use only by adults twenty-one and older. Keep out of the reach of children”
    4. “Marijuana should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding”
    5. “Marijuana has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming and addictive”

You can find more info in the full text of the Act to Tax and Regulate the Production, Sale, and Use of Marijuana.

If you’re looking for child-resistant pre-roll packaging that is opaque and meets the requirements of Alaska’s packaging laws, check out our opaque glass pre-roll tubes (available in black, white, silver, and gold) or our opaque Super Seal tubes (available in black and White) – or if you’re looking for a budget-friendly classic, we’ve got a variety of opaque colored options for pop-top doob tubes!

For pre-roll multi-packs, we have several compliant options to choose from – our pre-roll tins, snap packs, and flip packs are all certified child-resistant and opaque.

And don’t forget about our custom packaging options like custom labels and our label application service! Custom shrink sleeves are another easy-to-use option that provide a clean and polished look to your product.

Rules/Laws Unique to Alaska

No Medical Marijuana System in Alaska

Alaska is one of the only states which doesn’t have a state regulated medical marijuana industry while still allowing for medical marijuana use. Instead, medical patients are subject to the same rules and services as recreational consumers.

This combined system keeps recreational producers from having to compete with cheaper medical alternatives, increasing profitability, while also granting medical patients fewer benefits.

Alaska Cannabis Tax is Flat

While other states have employed a retail tax on marijuana, Alaska has settled on a combined tax applied to wholesale transactions between cultivation sites and retail/production sites. These rates are set at $50 per ounce, $25 per ounce for abnormal bud, $15 per ounce for trim, and $1 per clone.

This flat tax is manageable for many large companies, but it can be a hurdle to the success of smaller cannabis businesses. Municipalities can also decide to include an excise tax from 3-5% on retail purchases.

Alaska’s On-Site Cannabis Consumption Endorsements

Beginning April 11, 2019, licensed retail dispensaries are able to apply for on-site consumption endorsements. These allow dispensaries to construct an area, separated from the retail site, where customers can consume cannabis.

Cannabis Companies to Watch in Alaska

Permafrost

Established in February 2016, Permafrost was one of the first regulated growers in Alaska! Before their licensing, they put time and energy into pheno-hunting for the best strains with stable genetics to cultivate the highest quality flower. They offer all the classic forms of cannabis one would expect - top-shelf flower, pre-rolls, and concentrates.

Enlighten Alaska

A family-owned and operated recreational cannabis business based out of Anchorage, Enlighten was one of the first retail stores to open their doors in 2017! They are comitted to offering the highest-quality bud, pre-rolls, concentrates, vapes, and edibles. They boast a passionate and knowledgable staff while promoting safe, responsable consumption and maintaining the highest standards in everything they do, from business ethics and community engagement, to the products they put on their shelves.

GOOD Cannabis

GOOD Cannabis runs their business with three simple rules: Be good people. Provide good products. And do good for your community. These small missions are reflected in everything they do, from the contributions they make to the community to the high-quality cannabis they cultivate. They offer flower, pre-rolls, extracts, edibles, vape, and CBD products that are available at their retail store in Fairbanks, as well as in dispensaries across the state.

In Conclusion

While Alaska was one of the first states to legalize recreational weed, it also has a few unusual cannabis laws on the books. However, with over 200 dispensaries and no license cap, it is obvious the cannabis business is booming in Alaska with only room to grow.

There are plenty of unique difficulties for entrepreneurs looking to enter the market, such as their flat wholesale tax rate and residency requirement for everyone with financial interest in a business, but also unique opportunities. The first marijuana social lounge endorsements have already been approved and could prove helpful in boosting sales and fostering a consistent consumer base.