Lawmakers amend marijuana crimes bill

  • Saturday, March 14, 2015 9:29pm
  • News

JUNEAU (AP) — The Senate Finance Committee on Friday further amended the bill that would update state laws following the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Now, the bill would prohibit the commercial and retail marijuana industry from the parts of the state’s unorganized borough that are not in a municipality. The bill would allow established villages to opt back in to a new marijuana industry. That change was proposed by Bethel Democrat Sen. Lyman Hoffman.

Alaska voters in November approved a ballot issue that legalized recreational marijuana, directed the state to develop regulations for a new commercial industry, and allowed communities to prohibit that industry either by voter initiative or government ordinance. The state Legislature sits as the assembly for the unorganized borough.

Hoffman said he wanted to protect rural Alaskans, and have the conversation about prohibiting marijuana before it became a problem in those communities.

Sens. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, and Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, voted against it. Micciche said he’d rather leave the decision to prohibit marijuana in the hands of each community, than act on their behalf, particularly given that many voted in favor of legalization.

Another amendment would prohibit marijuana concentrates in two years. That came at the request of Fairbanks Republican Sen. Pete Kelly. That amendment would not be enacted for two years, because voter initiatives cannot be dramatically changed for that length of time, although the Legislature can make minor changes.

That amendment passed in a 4-3 vote, with Sens. Mike Dunleavy, R-Wasilla, and Anna MacKinnon, R-Eagle River, joining Micciche in voting against it.

Kelly said that he was concerned about the effects of concentrates on everyone, particularly children, and didn’t think Alaskans realized that they were voting for such a dangerous substance when they legalized marijuana.

MacKinnon said she shared Kelly’s concerns about marijuana, but she also noted that there is room for regulators to limit concentrates, including its packaging, dosages and advertising.

The committee also agreed unanimously to other amendments, including one that would make it a misdemeanor, rather than a felony, to bring marijuana into a correctional facility.

MacKinnon, the committee’s co-chair, said the panel would meet Saturday morning to review a draft of the bill with all the amendments made so far.

More in News

Erosion of the Kenai bluff near the Kenai Senior Center. (Photo by Aidan Curtin courtesy Scott Curtin)
Ribbon-cutting for bluff stabilization project set for June 10

The bluff has been eroding at a rate of around 3 feet per year

A bag of freshly dug razor clams is held aloft at the Ninilchik Beach in Ninilchik, Alaska, on Saturday, July 1, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
No clamming in Ninilchik or Clam Gulch this year

Adult abundance “well below” fishery thresholds on both beaches

Poppies are affixed to wreaths during a Memorial Day ceremony at Leif Hanson Memorial Park in Kenai on Monday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Remembering the sacrifices of the fallen

Speakers ask community to be inspired through sacrifice of service members

A fallen tree reaches onto Kalifornsky Beach Road in Soldotna, Alaska, as cars drive by on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Grants, borough to support HEA effort to mitigate dangerous trees

HEA will have permission to enter borough land and the borough’s right of way

Assembly President Brent Johnson asks questions of representatives of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District during a joint work session of the School Board and Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 2, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough to enter contract for asbestos flooring abatement in 3 central peninsula schools

The work will be done at Kenai Central High, Kenai Alternative High and Sterling Elementary schools

Kenai Central High School stands under clear skies in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough approves contract for KCHS parking lot rehabilitation

Soldotna-based Foster Construction will be awarded the bid of $648,997 to complete the project

Central Peninsula Hospital is seen in Soldotna on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Central Peninsula Hospital to host Cancer Survivor’s Day event

The event will take place Sunday, June 2 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks to the joint Soldotna and Kenai chambers of commerce at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Carpenter gives wrap up on session as he nears end of House term

Carpenter is seeking election to state Senate District D

(from left to right) Jachin Sanchez, Carter Lemons, Rowan Mahoney, Adelyn McCorison and Taylor Rickard graduated from Ninilchik School on Monday, May 13, 2024 in Ninilchik, Alaska. Photo provided by Mattea Peters-Williamson
Ninilchik graduates 5 in 2024 commencement

The school held the ceremony Monday, May 13

Most Read