Marijuana Control Board

Board members (from left) Loren Jones, Nicholas Miller, Jeff Ankerfelt, Brandon Emmett and Mark Springer during the Marijuana Control Board meeting at the Noel Wien Public Library auditorium Wednesday, August 15, 2018.

FAIRBANKS—A new set of regulations allowing marijuana stores to offer sampling rooms is going out for public comment.

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board on Wednesday also decided to hold a public hearing on Dec. 19 to accept oral comment on the proposed rules.

If approved, retail stores could offer separate enclosed areas where customers could sample purchases on a limited basis.

The proposed regulations have gone through several drafts and have gone out for public comment before. This newest draft provides communities the option to protest stores’ applications for an on-site consumption endorsement.

The marijuana control board voted unanimously to put the regulations out for a 60-day public comment period.

“I’m glad that we finally have got something that has been tuned up good,” said Mark Springer, chairman of the marijuana control board, which is meeting at the Noel Wien Public Library in Fairbanks through Friday.

The board for several years has been discussing the possibility of allowing on-site consumption.

The board rejected proposed regulations in February 2017. New regulations went out for public comment the following August.

This latest draft of regulations was developed through a collaboration involving Brandon Emmett, of Fairbanks, an industry representative on the marijuana control board; and Loren Jones, a Juneau assemblyman who holds the public health seat on the board.

Jones said his participation in regulation development is no guarantee that he will approve the regulations, which are expected to go before the board for a vote in December.

Emmett said he is eager for the process to move forward.

“I just think it’s important that this project finally be seen through,” he said.

Under the proposed regulations, stores could apply for an on-site consumption endorsement for $1,000. Annual renewals would cost $2,000.

Local governments would be notified by the marijuana control office and could file a protest.

The regulations would prohibit stores from hosting games or contests or giving away marijuana as a prize.

The consumption area would need to be a separate enclosed ventilated area that could be viewed by store employees.

A fenced-off outdoor area could also be used for on-site consumption under the proposed rules.

Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7587. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.