On Wednesday, the state sent out an updated schedule explaining when it plans to finish work on different parts of the regulations that will govern the commercial marijuana industry in Alaska.
Ballot Measure 2 enshrined some strict deadlines when it came to those regulations. Those deadlines were intended to prevent anti-legalization folks from killing the commercial marijuana industry through delay. The next big deadline is Nov. 24, 2015. That's the deadline for the alcoholic beverage control board (or the Marijuana Control Board) to adopt regulations for a commercial industry.
Remember, until a Marijuana Control Board is seated, the alcohol board will set regulations.
The alcohol board has already met once to talk marijuana ─ that was on April 30, when it approved a permanent regulation defining "in public" when deciding whether marijuana is being consumed in public.
Wednesday's email from the state outlines a detailed schedule of what happens before Nov. 24. Right now, the public is being invited to comment on the first set of draft regulations (they've been divided into three sets for easier consumption). In future posts, I'll break down what's in Set 1.
The public comment period ends June 20 for Set 1, and if you want to submit a comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The state has a plan for the rest of the year, but keep in mind that this can change based on public comment or if something else comes up to alter the schedule.
On July 2, the alcohol board (or the marijuana board, if it's been appointed) will meet in Fairbanks. On its agenda will be reviewing public input on Set 1 and accepting it if it looks good. If it needs more changes, the board will set another date to accept Set 1. It'll also review Set 2 and open it to public comment.
From July 7 to August 8 is the 30-day public comment period for Set 2. This set is expected to include marijuana testing labs.
On Aug. 10, the marijuana board will meet to review public input on Set 2. If public comment doesn't turn up anything, the board can approve that set. Otherwise, it goes back for review and gets delayed a meeting. The board will also open Set 3 for public comment.
Public comment on Set 3 will go from Aug. 12 to Sept. 13.
On Sept. 15, the marijuana board meets again, likely to vote on adopting Set 2 and reviewing Set 3 with an eye toward any changes that are needed. The board would vote on those changes and send the set back to the Department of Law for review.
On Oct. 19, the marijuana board would vote on adopting Set 3.
Nov. 20 would be the last meeting before the ballot-measure-imposed deadline. If the board couldn't finish its work on any set, or if it needed any additional sets, that vote would take place here.
In an ideal world, everything's done by Nov. 20, four days before the voter-imposed deadline, and everyone walks away happy. If the state and the marijuana board can't finish its work before Nov. 24, all kinds of unpleasantness could ensue, including lawsuits ...
Next time, I'll start reviewing what's in Set 1.