The BulldogLast week the Alaska Marijuana Control Board (MCB) voted to allow cannabis consumption in state-licensed pot shops. If approved by Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott (whose duties include filing and publishing state regulations), the MCB’s decision will make Alaska the first state with something like Amsterdam-style cannabis cafés—in fact, the first state to explicitly allow marijuana use in settings other than private residences.

Measure 2, the legalization measure that Alaska voters approved last November, says “it is unlawful to consume marijuana in public” and prescribes a $100 fine for that offense. Although the initiative does not define public, the state argued that the term covers any business open to the public, including clubs where people pay a membership fee to consume their own marijuana in a social setting. Last August the MCB proposed regulations that explicitly banned cannabis clubs, a move that drew strong objections from people who thought consumption should not be legally confined to people’s homes—a situation that is especially inconvenient for visitors from other states. The board argues that Measure 2 does not authorize it to license clubs for consumption but does give it the leeway to allow consumption in retail outlets, which it plans to exclude from the definition of public.

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