Anchorage to vote on retail marijuana shop on-site smoking

Published Oct 17, 2019 02:20 p.m. ET

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Anchorage Assembly will let voters decide whether the city should allow on−site smoking in retail marijuana shops, officials said.

The assembly voted 7−4 last week to put the question on the April 7 city election ballot, The Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday.

Voters would have to change Anchorage’s workplace safety code banning indoor smoking, but the state code allows for for on−site marijuana smoking, Economic and Community Development Director Christopher Schutte said.

On−site marijuana smoking at shops would be heavily regulated. Smoking customers would be in separate areas from other retail customers and employees, who could monitor and enter the areas in emergencies, officials said.

Advocates on both sides of the issue said they are crafting strategies to try to convince voters.

A door does not fully stop smoke, while cancer−causing particulates can remain even after visible smoke is cleared, said Emily Nenon of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

A report from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air−Conditioning Engineers shared with the assembly concluded that ventilation cannot fully eliminate smoke exposure in isolated rooms, but can stop secondhand smoke exposure to those outside the smoking rooms.

The marijuana industry should be given the power by regulators to produce solutions to issues that have arisen since marijuana was legalized, said Jake Warden, owner of the marijuana−consulting business SWOT Team Solutions.

"Give us a framework and let us innovate," Warden said. "The businesses will be able to innovate around the regulation. That’s what we’ve been doing."

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Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com

The Associated Press

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