anchorage

Alaska: Feds Block Rainforest Farms From Paying Taxes

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Rainforest Farms, Juneau's first legal marijuana retailer, was turned away late last month by the U.S Postal Service when one of its owners attempted to mail a regularly scheduled tax payment to Anchorage. Anchorage is the only place in the state equipped to take cash deposits.

“Any proceeds from the selling of (marijuana) is considered drug proceeds under federal law, so you can’t mail that,” Postal inspector Aaron Behnen told the Empire from Anchorage.

Ken Alper, Alaska Department of Revenue Tax Division Director, said in an interview that the state needs to find a way for “these legitimate businesspeople to pay their taxes. We thought we had done that, and this throws a tremendous wrinkle into our processes.”

Even though eight states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington) and Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana, cannabis businesses remain mostly locked out of the banking system.

Marijuana is still illegal federally, so any business that deals with it is in violation of federal law. The U.S. Department of Justice stated in a 2013 memo that it would not interfere with states that have legalized marijuana, but that policy could change at any time.

Alaska: First Retail Cannabis Outlet In Anchorage To Open This Month

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Alaskans voted to legalize marijuana more than two years ago, allowing adults to possess up to an ounce of pot, cultivate up to six plants, and to open retail cannabis stores. This month Anchorage will finally see its first cannabis retail outlet open its doors.

Alaska Fireweed’s General Manager William Ingram has announced that they are the first to pass their final inspection and plan to open the store on December 17 at "high noon"

“I couldn’t be more excited to finally open our doors; it’s been a grueling process”, Ingram said. He said it’s taken over 8 months of inspections to get to this point. “I think people expected things to be further along by now, but we’re glad to be where we are”, he says.

Ingram said the clinic will offer nine strains of marijuana on opening day, each grown by licensed cultivator Greatland Ganja. Dried bud, pre-rolled joints, and some devices such as pipes and bongs will be available for purchase.Ingram said customers should expect "a long line", and should remember to bring cash, as it will be the only form of payment they can accept.

Alaska: Marijuana Regulators Approve First Licenses

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Alaska regulators approved the first licenses Thursday for legal marijuana growing and testing facilities.

Priority was being given to growing and testing operations to pave the way for retail stores to have legal product to sell. Retail licenses are expected to be issued starting later this year.

The Marijuana Control Board had thirty applications on their agenda when they met Thursday. Two were for testing facilities, and the rest were for grow operations.

CannTest LLC of Anchorage, a marijuana testing facility, had the first application approved. Applause and cheers followed the announcement.

"That's history right there, folks," board member Brandon Emmett said.

Mark Malagodi, CEO of CannTest LLC, said it felt good. "It's just the first hurdle," he said. "It's a big one and it's really exciting."

It's not yet clear how many testing facilities the industry will need because the amount of product to be examined has not yet been determined, board member Bruce Schulte said Wednesday. Alaska needs at least one functioning lab, he said.

"Whether the right number is two or four or one, that remains to be seen," said Schulte, who served as board chair until Thursday, when a new chair was elected.

Alaska: Marijuana Proponents Say Measure Would Amount To A Ban On Rural Cannabis Shops

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Backers of the 2014 initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Alaska are urging legislators to oppose a measure that would severely limit marijuana business locations and access to marijuana for adults in rural Alaska. The amendment was recently snuck into HB 75, an otherwise non-controversial bill intended to clarify marijuana rules following the passage of Ballot Measure 2.

HB 75 was originally intended to establish the maximum number of marijuana plants that can be cultivated per household and define key terms in the law. It was recently expanded to allow the state government to request background checks on marijuana business applicants, at which time Sen. Lyman F. Hoffman (D - Dist. S) introduced an amendment that would make it very difficult to establish marijuana businesses in any unincorporated area of the state.

"Alaskans spoke loud and clear when they adopted Ballot Measure 2, and this amendment would defy the will of the voters,” said Tim Hinterberger, an official proponent of Ballot Measure 2 who served as chair of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “It is disappointing that some senators would use the state's need for background checks as an opportunity to ban marijuana businesses in rural Alaska. We strongly urge members of the House to oppose this offensive proposal and either amend HB 75 or oppose it and address background checks in a separate bill."

Alaska: Marijuana Concentrates Ban Will Not Pass

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A controversial amendment pushed by a state senator to ban all marijuana concentrates in 2017 will not survive, according to the head of an Alaska House committee that has spent much of the session reviewing cannabis rules under legalization.

House Judiciary Committee chairwoman Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux (R-Anchorage) said the amendment, authored by Sen. Pete Kelly, isn't what Alaskans voted for when they approved Ballot Measure 2 last November, reports Matt Buxton at News Miner.

"I would not go in that direction," LeDoux said. "To me, it is very important to adhere to the will of the people, and the people didn't say 'Let's have concentrates for two years and then two years later we'll stop being able to use them.' That was not the initiative."

The House Judiciary Committee held a few joint sessions with the Senate Judiciary Committee as the two worked through Senate Bill 30 and House Bill 79, which will regulate legal marijuana in the state.

The bill produced by the Senate Judiciary Committee was extensively rewritten by the Senate Finance Committee, and saw more than 20 amendments last week, including Sen. Kelly's controversial concentrates ban.

Alaska: Marijuana News Show Now Broadcast On KBYR Anchorage

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TNMNews, which calls itself "the unbiased marijuana talk radio program," is now broadcast on KBYR Anchorage. The announcement follows the news last month that TNMNews is also broadcast on KFAR 660 AM, the oldest radio station in Alaska.

"KBYR has become the third terrestrial station to pick up our unbiased cannabis-related news and talk show," said Todd Denkin, president of TNMNews and CEO of its parent company, DigiPath, Inc. "Cannabis is a hot topic in Alaska, where voters recently gave thumbs up to the recreational use of marijuana by passing Ballot Measure 2."

Hosted by Todd Denkin and Jen Gentile, the latest episode of TNMNews examines how political activism is working to advance acceptance of marijuana use in America and features leaders in the fight to expand cannabis in healthcare and its role in films and television.

First up in this week's show, certified nurse Lanny Swerdlow describes how in 1995 he administered cannabis to a patient for the first time. The patient had contracted HIV/AIDS, and he was wasting away while experiencing severe side effects from his medication cocktail.

Cannabis mitigated the side effects, so Swerdlow's patient stayed compliant with his prescribed medications. It also stimulated the patient's appetite, reversing his wasting, and helped lift his spirits. The problem that Swerdlow faced in treating his patient with marijuana was having to "deal with criminals to get it for him."

Alaska: Marijuana Legalization Advocates Want 2014 Vote

(Graphic: Red Bubble)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Voters could get the chance next year to make Alaska the third state in the U.S. to legalize the recreational use of marijuana by adults 21 and older.

Cannabis advocates on Tuesday took the first step towards getting a legalization measure on the August 2014 primary ballot, report Rob Hotakainen and Lisa Demer at Anchorage Daily News. Three major sponsors of the measure filed their application with the lieutenant governor's office for an initiative petition along with signatures from what they said are at least 100 other supporters.

Tim Hinterberger, an associate professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage, leads the group. The other two main sponsors are Bill Parker and Mary Reff, according to Gail Fenumiai, state elections director.

The measure would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana sales and allow Alaskans to grow their own cannabis for personal use. It would allow the Legislature to create a Marijuana Control Board, but until that board was established, it would allow the Alcohol Beverage Control Board to regulate marijuana sales.

Adults 21 and older could legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana under the proposal. They'd be allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants, three of which could be mature.

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