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Commercial Cannabis Corner

State & Municipal Commercial Marijuana Regulations 
(Last Page Update: 8/2/16 @ 6:30 p.m.)

As identified in AS 17.38 and 3 AAC 306.300-600, the City of Valdez can regulate commercial marijuana facilities. Any entity wishing to establish a commercial marijuana facility in Valdez must first obtain a license from the State of Alaska. Please see the "Application" section below for applicable links and resources.

Please Note: Until state licenses are issued, it is still illegal to buy or sell marijuana within Valdez city limits. 

This page aims to inform citizens and visitors regarding commercial marijuana regulations. References are hyperlinked in green. Please check back regularly, as the State of Alaska and City of Valdez continue to develop laws and procedures regarding the production and sale of marijuana.

(For ease of reference, general recreational or personal use marijuana regulations are listed at the bottom of the page.)

Valdez Municipal Ordinances Regarding Marijuana

Ordinance No. 16-04 - Amending Title 17 (Zoning) of the Valdez Municipal Code:

During its first reading/public hearing on April 19th, City Council significantly amended Ordinance No. 16-04. The ordinance, as amended, appeared before City Council for a second first reading/public hearing on May 4th.
City Council passed Ordinance  No. 16-04 (second reading/for adoption) on May 16, 2016 with a 5 to 2 vote (two nays: Mayor Knight & Council Member Cockerham).

Click here to view Ordinance No. 16-04 and associated zoning maps as approved by City Council.

Ordinance No. 16-03 - Amending Chapter 5.06 of the Valdez Municipal Code Titled Marijuana Regulations:

First reading/public hearing of Ordinance No. 16-03 occurred during the regular City Council meeting of April 5, 2016.

City Council passed Ordinance  No. 16-03 (second reading/for adoption) on April 19, 2016
with a 6 to 1 vote (one nay: Council Member Cockerham).

Click here to view Ordinance  No. 16-03 as approved by City Council

General Background

On August 3, 2015 the Valdez City Council passed Ordinance No. 15-05, amending the Valdez Municipal Code by creating Chapter 5.06 titled Marijuana Regulations.
The Valdez City Council is designated as the commercial marijuana “local regulatory authority” as that term is used in AS 17.38 and any implementing legislation or rulemaking. Formal public hearings of the City Council, and in some cases the City Planning and Zoning Commission, must be held prior to adoption of specific regulations related to commercial marijuana.

Link to City of Valdez Website - Click to Review the City Council's Agenda Materials and Listen to Audio Recordings

Background Regarding Revisions to Ch. 17 - Zoning Regulations

Formal public hearings the Planning & Zoning Commission must be held prior to adoption of specific zoning regulations. 

The Planning & Zoning Commission then makes recommendations to City Council regarding Chapter 17 of Valdez Municipal Code - Zoning regulations only (i.e., what types of facilities will be allowed in which zoning districts). All other local decisions regarding commercial marijuana, including final adoption authority for zoning regulations, fall under the jurisdiction of the City Council.

The Planning & Zoning Commission reviewed draft revisions to Chapter 17 - Zoning Regulations during their regular meetings on March 10, 2015 and March 23, 2016. The Commission also held a work session for purposes of discussion on March 16, 2016. The Commission then forwarded their recommendations for revisions to Chapter 17 to City Council for review.

Planning & Zoning Commission's Recommendation Regarding Revisions to Ch. 17 Zoning - To Be Sent to Council for Review & Public Hearing During the Regular Council Meeting on April 5, 2016 

Link to City of Valdez Website - Click to Review the Planning & Zoning Commission's Agenda Materials & Listen to Audio Recordings

City of Valdez Commercial Marijuana Background Resource Links

Click on the links below to read background documentation regarding the commercial marijuana legislation development process in Valdez.

Legal Memo Regarding Answers to Questions Previously Raised Regarding Commercial Marijuana dated 3/16/2016 - Posted 3/16/2016

Public Comments Received During Public Comment Period Ending 3/9/2016 - Posted 3/10/16

Public Hearing Notice Published in the Valdez Star Starting 3/2/2016 - Posted 3/2/16

Public Hearing Mailer Sent to All Valdez Post Office Box Holders on 2/26/2016
 - Posted 2/26/16

Valdez - Proposed Local Commercial Marijuana Zoning Regulations - Posted 2/16/16

Commercial Marijuana Feb. 18th Community Meeting Presentation - Posted 2/18/16

Commercial Marijuana Feb. 18th Community Meeting - Posted 2/16/16

Valdez - Proposed Local Commercial Marijuana Zoning Regulations - Posted 2/16/16

Commercial Marijuana Feb. 18th Community Meeting Presentation - Posted 2/18/16

COV Examples of Exclusionary Buffer & Zoning Areas - Posted 2/18/16

NEW! State of Alaska Commercial Marijuana Public Comment Opportunities

Alaska Marijuana Control Board - Notice of Proposed Regulations Regarding Marijuana Handler Permit Requirements

+ Signed Public Notice Regarding Commercial Marijuana Handler Permits

+ Draft Regulations - Commercial Marijuana Handler Permits

Alaska Marijuana Control Board - Notice of Proposed Regulations Regarding Marijuana Testing Facilities, Retail Stores, and Onsite Consumption

+ Draft Regulations - Retail Stores Notice

+ Draft Regulations - Testing Standards & Tolerances Notice

+ Draft Regulations - Onsite Consumption

State of Alaska - Important Dates Regarding Commercial Marijuana

Dates listed below are subject to change based upon the State of Alaska Marijuana Control Board decision making process. Dates are subject to change. Please visit the State of Alaska Marijuana Control Office website for the most up-to-date timeline.

February 11, 2016 - MCB meeting in Juneau to approve forms; review and discuss questions by staff.

February 24, 2016 - AMCO begins accepting applications for all license types. MCB also reviewed draft regulations regarding Consumption Endorsement regulations - draft regulations to go out for public comment. Forms available for potential marijuana handler education course providers to fill out and return to AMCO with attached curricula.

March 16, 2016 - Earliest date application initiated on February 24, 2016 could be deemed complete. Cultivation and testing facility licenses begin to be deemed complete and forwarded to local governments. 

April 10, 2016 - Cut-off date to submit marijuana handler education course materials for review by board at next meeting.

April 27, 2016 - MCB meeting in Anchorage to review progress with applications received. Discuss date for deeming retail store and product manufacturing facility applications complete. Board will also review and vote on qualified marijuana handler education courses.

April 28, 2016 - Qualified marijuana handler education course providers begin offering education classes.

May 2, 2016 - Draft regulations regarding Consumption Endorsement posted and public comment begins.

May 12, 2016 - Marijuana Handler Permit applications available; applications may be brought to AMCO in Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks with course completion certificates and state issued ID for card issuance. Applications may be mailed to AMCO main office in anchorage with copy of state issued ID from all other locations.

May 23, 2016 - Implementation of Marijuana Inventory Tracking System.

June 1, 2016 - Public comment period regarding Consumption Endorsement regulations closes and public comments compiled for board review.

June 9, 2016 - MCB meeting in Anchorage to approve first cultivation and testing licenses. Board will also review public comments regarding Consumption Endorsement regulations and decided whether to adopt those regulations.

July 2016 - MCB meeting in Fairbanks to continue to review and issue cultivation and testing licenses.

September 7-8, 2016 - MCB meeting to approve first retail store and product manufacturing facility licenses.

December 2016 - MCB meeting to continue to approve and issue licenses, other licensing business as it arises.

State of Alaska Commercial Marijuana License Types
The regulations in 3 AAC 306 provide for six types of marijuana establishment licenses:

1. Retail Stores (3 AAC 306.300)
2. Cultivation Facilities (3 AAC 306.400)
3. Limited Cultivation Facilities - 500 square feet or less (3 AAC 306.410)
4. Product Manufacturing Facilities (3 AAC 306.500)
5. Concentrate Manufacturing Facilities (3 AAC 306.515)
6. Testing Facilities (3 AAC 306.600)

State law requires marijuana facilities close between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. The City of Valdez may choose to impose additional limitations on operational hours.

State law does not limit the number of facilities in one jurisdiction. The City of Valdez may choose, by ordinance, to limit the number of facilities within city limits.

State law allows marijuana consumption on retail facility premises in a separate area as long as ventilation and other requirements are met.

State of Alaska Defacto Facility Zoning Regulations

Under state law, no commercial marijuana facility may be located within 500 feet of school grounds, a recreation or youth center, a building in which religious services are regularly conducted, or a correctional facility (3 AAC 306.010(a)).

No facility may be located in a liquor license premises (3 AAC 306.010(b)).

Under Alaska criminal law, possessing marijuana within 500 feet of school grounds or a recreation or youth center is a class C felony. However it is an affirmative defense if the prohibited conduct took place entirely within a private residence (AS 11.71.040(a)(4)(A)).

Under Federal law, distributing, manufacturing, or possessing with intent to distribute a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school, playground, or public housing facility or within 100 feet of a youth center, public swimming pool, or video arcade is subject to twice the penalty authorized under federal law (21USCA680).

State of Alaska Commercial Marijuana Resource Links

State of Alaska Marijuana Handler Permit Application Instructions - Posted 05/13/16

Draft State of Alaska Regulations for Onsite Consumption - Posted 05/13/16

Draft State of Alaska Regulations for MCB Administration - Posted 05/13/16

State of Alaska Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office Website 

State of Alaska Marijuana Initiative FAQs
(Excellent resource for common questions related to commercial marijuana facilities, financing options, personal use, the local option, and regulatory questions.)

State of Alaska Marijuana Initiative Public Interest Online Form 
(Submit comments & register for State of Alaska Marijuana Control Board alerts)

AS 17.38 - "An Act To Tax and Regulate the Production, Sale, and Use of Marijuana." (Commonly Referred to as Ballot Measure 2 or Proposition 2)

AS 17.38 (House Bill 123)

3 AAC 306 - Regulation of Marijuana Industry 

Cole Memorandum - Guidance Regarding Marijuana Enforcement

State of Alaska Notice of Proposed Changes in the Regulations of the Dept. of Revenue - (Marijuana Taxation)

State of Alaska Additional Regulation Notice Information - Marijuana Taxation
15 AAC 61 - Marijuana Taxation (Proposed)

The State of Alaska created a four part video series outlining the commercial marijuana application process.

Part One:
Part Two:
Part Three:
Part Four:

State of Alaska Commercial Marijuana Facility License Application Process
Commercial marijuana licenses are issued by the State Marijuana Control Board. Please contact the Control Board with questions or concerns related to the license application process.

All applicants must be Alaska residents and are subject to a background check.

3 AAC 306.100 outlines the State of Alaska fee schedule associated with commercial marijuana licensing.

On February 24, 2016, the State Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office launched the state’s online application system for marijuana establishment licenses.

training video about the license application process is also available on the State Marijuana Control Board website.

Applicants must post public notice of application in the newspaper and other accessible locations.

The public may protest applications in writing by contacting the State Marijuana Control Board.

The State Marijuana Control Board must contact the Valdez City Council and provide application materials from each application received (3 AAC 306.025(d)(2)). City Council has 60 days to protest or make recommendations to impose additional conditions on the applicant (3 AAC 306.030).

Applications (with associated fees) must be renewed annually.

State of Alaska Marijuana Initiative FAQs 
(Excellent resource for common questions related to commercial marijuana, including details regarding the license application process.)

State Recreational (Personal Use) Marijuana Regulations 
In 2015, recreational use of marijuana became legal in the State of Alaska under certain conditions. The City of Valdez cannot prohibit personal possession, consumption, and cultivation as authorized under AS 17.18.020.

Where is it Legal to Purchase Marijuana in Alaska?
It is currently illegal to purchase or sell marijuana in Alaska. The State Marijuana Control Board will begin issuing cultivation and testing licenses in approximately June of 2016. The marijuana retail store regulations state that stores may only sell marijuana and marijuana products that have been grown in a licensed marijuana cultivation facility or produced in a licensed marijuana product manufacturing facility.

Until those other facility types are licensed and begin producing legal marijuana and marijuana products, the board cannot issue marijuana store licenses. Until retail marijuana stores are licensed and have legal products on their shelves, buying or selling marijuana without a license is illegal and could be filed and prosecuted as a crime.

Must be 21 to Use or Possess Marijuana

It continues to be a criminal offense for persons under 21 years of age to possess any amount of marijuana following the effective date of AS 17.38. It is legal to share one ounce of marijuana with those who are 21 years of age.

Illegal to Drive Under the Influence of Marijuana
Marijuana continues to be a controlled substance following the effective date of the initiative. Therefore, it will still be a crime under AS 28.35.030 to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of any controlled substance, inhalant, alcoholic beverage, or any combination of those substances.

Illegal to Consume Marijuana in Public
Marijuana consumption in public is prohibited by State Law and Valdez City Code. "In public" as defined by AS 17.38.040 means in a place to which the public or a substantial group of persons has access and includes highways, transportation facilities, schools, places of amusement or business, parks, playgrounds, prisons, and hallways, lobbies, and other portions of apartment houses and hotels not constituting rooms or apartments designed for actual residence.

On November 20, 2015, the State Marijuana Control Board amended the definition to exclude marijuana retail stores that have a consumption endorsement issued by the board. No such endorsements have yet been issued; therefore, it continues to be a violation of AS 17.38.040 to consume marijuana in a public place, including unlicensed, unregulated marijuana smoking clubs. 

Possessing and Growing Marijuana in Your Residence
AS 17.38.020 specifies it is lawful to possess marijuana harvested from up to six plants (three or fewer being mature, flowering plants) on the private premises where the plants were grown.

Property Owner's Rights
Under state law a person, employer, school, hospital, recreation or youth center, correction facility, corporation or any other entity who occupies, owns or controls private property may prohibit or otherwise regulate the possession, consumption, use, display, transfer, distribution, sale, transportation or growing of marijuana on or in that property. Persons who violate the policy are subject to prosecution for the misdemeanor offense of criminal trespass in violation of AS 11.46.330.

State of Alaska Marijuana Initiative FAQs
(Excellent resource for common questions related to commercial marijuana facilities, financing options, personal use, the local option, and regulatory questions.)