Anchorage Assembly Approves 2-Year Marijuana Licensing
As the legalized marijuana industry matures, the Anchorage Assembly is relaxing some of the paperwork burden on local businesses. A new municipal ordinance extends the licensing period to two years instead of requiring annual renewals.
Same Renewal as Alcohol
The Alaska Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office still requires annual renewals for the corresponding state marijuana licenses, and that applies to businesses within the Municipality of Anchorage. But AO 2023-46 ends the need for yearly check-ins with local regulators.
“What we have seen from the marijuana industry is a stunning level of compliance over the last couple of years,” Anchorage Assembly vice chair Christopher Constant said at the April 18 meeting. “In some ways, this is a reward for good performance to an industry in our community that is providing millions of dollars in tax revenue, that has been the lone place in our economy where jobs are growing year after year.”
The change adjusts the marijuana licensing process to parallel alcohol licensing periods, reflecting the intent of the 2014 ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol. With that in mind, Constant says, “This ordinance is long overdue.”
Constant co-sponsored the ordinance with Assembly Member Pete Petersen. “There are more than 100 of these licenses now in the municipality,” Petersen says. “When these licenses come up for renewal, they are required to be inspected by the police, fire, and code enforcement officers. We’re already understaffed in those areas, so I’m glad we could free up our public safety officers for their important work out on the streets, hopefully preventing crime.”
The sponsors say the ordinance streamlines municipal processes, decreases the procedural workload for municipal services, and saves local businesses time and resources.