Alaska’s Marijuana Dispensaries Granted First State-Issued Approval For On-Site Consumption

"This is a really big milestone ... when you’re trying to bring normalcy to something in a new industry," said a dispensary owner.

a woman surrounded by smoke
Alexas_Photos / Pixabay

"This is a really big milestone ... when you’re trying to bring normalcy to something in a new industry," said a dispensary owner.

Alaska will allow customers to purchase marijuana at some dispensaries to smoke, vape or eat it on-site, The Associated Press reports. This would make Alaska the first state to allow such consumption on a state-wide basis.

Alaska is one of 11 states that has legalized marijuana for recreational use, where it can be purchased in specialized “dispensaries.” However, the vast majority of marijuana dispensaries require customers to take their product home to actually use it.

There are a handful of exceptions. Some states have language in their marijuana laws that allow local governments to set the rules for whether or not customers can use their products on-site at dispensaries. In fact, there are several towns and cities across the U.S. that currently permit this arrangement.

However, Alaska is now the only state that allows for on-site consumption on a state-wide basis.

Following years of discussions that were finally capped off by a vote Thursday, Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board issued licenses to two dispensaries — GoodSinse LLC in Fairbanks and Cannabis Corner, near Ketchikan — to allow customers to smoke on-site.

The rules state that areas where customers can consume must be separated from the rest of the building — either by a door or by being outside. Indoor smoking spaces must have a separate ventilation system, and dispensaries must have smoke-free indoor areas where employees can monitor customers’ consumption. Customers cannot bring their own pot to the dispensaries to smoke; they must purchase it on-site. Daniel Peters, a co-owner of GoodSinse, called the decision to allow marijuana smoking on-site “historic.”

“This is historic in my mind. This is a really big milestone… when you’re trying to bring normalcy to something in a new industry,” said Peters.

a marijuana joint and some buds
  TechPhotoGal / Pixabay

Meanwhile, Ayme Zantua, a co-owner of Cannabis Corner in Ketchikan, is hoping her dispensary — complete with an on-site smoking area — will be up and running by February. That would give her a head start on operating before the summer tourist season begins, which is when cruise ships bring passengers to the town — passengers that Zantua hopes might be interested in stopping by for a legal smoke.

Alaska isn’t the only state where cannabis customers can smoke on-site.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the city of West Hollywood, California, recently approved a first-of-its-kind cannabis café that allows diners to smoke pot while they enjoy their meal. Lowell Café’s cannabis-smoking area will be outdoors and out of view of passers-by on the street