Alaska approved recreational marijuana use in 2014 (AS 17.38) and is just now about to begin its licensing process. What does this have to do with a company dedicated to California's marijuana industry? Everything. Last year California created its own set of laws known as MMRSA that laid the foundation for medical marijuana regulation and licensing. There is a great deal of speculation about the exact licensing process so looking at how other states handle such licensing helps understand what may lay ahead for potential applicants in the golden state.
Here is a link to a FAQ from the Alaskan Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office concerning the licensing application process. Highlights include:
1. First step is to secure your location. The Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office won't even waste time on you until you have your location. Specifically:
All licenses are premises based, meaning that the first question to answer is not who will apply but where will the licensed premises be located? Applicants must demonstrate a right of possession to the property. You must submit a lease or rental agreement if you do not own the property.
2. Even though it is a state license, being in compliance with local government rules and regulations is a condition precedence of getting state approval.
After the director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office deems an application to be complete, staff will transmit the application to the local government with jurisdiction over the proposed licensed premises. The local government has 60 days from the date of receipt of the notice of the application to file a protest to the application or waive its right to protest.
3. Become an expert in the Alaska-selected marijuana inventory tracking system.
Marijuana inventory tracking system – All marijuana license types will be required to use the State of Alaska-selected marijuana inventory tracking system to assure that marijuana sold in licensed retail stores was grown, produced and tested by licensed establishments. The board will not issue any licenses before the marijuana inventory tracking system is implemented; the anticipated date of implementation is May 23, 2016.
4. Create an operating plan.
All license types are required to submit an operating plan with their application. For example, an operating plan for cultivation would include:
(A) the size of the space intended to be under cultivation;
(B) the growing medium to be used;
(C) fertilizers, chemicals, gases and delivery systems, including CO2 management, to be used;
(D) the irrigation and waste water systems to be used;
(E) waste disposal arrangements;
(F) odor control; and
(G) the testing procedure and protocols the marijuana cultivation facility will follow.
While an operating plan for a manufacturing license would need to include this additional information:
...the equipment and solvents, gases, chemicals, and other compounds used to create concentrates and the processes to be used; (B) each marijuana product the applicant intends to process at this location; the product description must include the color, shape, texture, ingredients and standard production procedure to be used; (C) the packaging to be used for each type of product; and Register , 2015 COMMERCE, COMMUNITY, AND EC. DEV. 7/28 and 7/30/2015 7 (D) sample labels showing how the labeling information required in 3 AAC 306.570 will be set out.
For more information, the complete Alaskan Marijuana Licensing FAQ is here.