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Alaska Geography Makes Licensing For Cannabis Industry a Statewide Challenge

Alaska’s mountainous terrain is the state’s biggest obstacle (literally) to getting everyone in the marijuana industry online and registered. Not only is Alaska’s population a sparce 740,000 — the residents are spread out to a degree unimaginable in most states, with only 40 percent of population centers accessible by roads. The only way to get to many towns, including the capital, is via air or water.

In many of these towns, Internet access is not available. This frustrates many Alaskans who are trying to get their businesses online and legal, according Cynthia Franklin, director of the Alaska Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office.  “It is incredibly upsetting to many Alaskans that they have to have an Internet connection to get a license because of the geography. You really couldn’t pick a state with more geographic challenges.”

For the more remote towns, Franklin said, the next challenge is taking the federal marijuana enforcement guidelines outlined in the Cole Memo and reworking them to be realistic for Alaska’s geography. Each municipality can tweak the guidelines so they make sense for its area and population, but the local guidelines can’t be less strict than state rules. [Read more at]

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