Alaska Marijuana Business License Applications Piling Up

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The number of applications for marijuana business licenses is outgrowing the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office’s approval process.

There are 467 applications being processed with another 46 businesses set for inspection, according to a Marijuana Control Office spreadsheet dated May 8.

Brandon Emmett of the Alaska Marijuana Control Board, which oversees the office, said there is discussion of making Marijuana Control Board meetings longer to deal with the backlog of applications and also to manage the need to revise state regulations.

Emmett also said raising application fees could help cover the cost of hiring more staff.

“At the last meeting, we actually approved a couple of licenses that were just waiting for the meeting,” Emmett said. “They had everything done for quite some time.”

The Alaska Marijuana Industry Association and the Marijuana Control Board requested more state funding from the Legislature for the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office, but the request was denied, Emmett said.

Officials are working to develop regulations for on-site consumption. The marijuana board is also reviewing testing, shipping and packaging regulations as issues arise, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported .

“Now that we have quite a lot of businesses doing commerce daily, we are starting to find the little nuances that work and don’t work,” Emmett said. “There is all of this stuff that is coming up that was kind of unforeseen when the first set of regulations was put forward two years ago.”

There are 205 businesses in Alaska that are licensed and active. The spreadsheet shows that 97 of Alaska’s active cannabis companies — mostly growers — are located in Fairbanks or the outskirts of North Pole. Fourteen more marijuana companies — nine cultivators and five retailers — are close to getting their business license to open in the Fairbanks area, according to the spreadsheet.