ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — In an abrupt about-face, Alaska marijuana regulators on Tuesday decided to once again attempt to write rules that would allow the onsite consumption of pot in retail stores.
During a high-profile meeting just last month, the board cited fears over how the Trump administration might crack down on marijuana, even in the eight states where recreational use is legal, in letting proposed regulations wither that would have made Alaska the first state in the nation to allow onsite use.
Those fears weren't mentioned Tuesday as the board voted 4-1 to attempt to come up with a new set of rules that would eventually be sent out for public comment.
After the meeting, Alaska Marijuana Control Board Chairman Peter Mlynarik couldn't say what changed in the last month that might have alleviated fears over what the federal government might do.
"Well, I think last month, had a regulation written in a certain way that died," he told The Associated Press. "So now the project is out again, and we don't know what form that's going to take yet."
Mlynarik asked board members to review the proposal that was rejected in February, and to send their thoughts to staff members about what they would like to retain in new regulations, what they would like removed and anything else that they would like to add.
Board members could review the new proposal as soon as the April meeting, and then send it out again for public review.
Nicholas Miller, a board member from Anchorage representing the industry, said he's in favor of all types of consumption, including smoking and vaping — an idea that Mlynarik was sour on because of concerns of secondhand smoke.
Miller said he didn't want to totally rule out smoking and vaping, adding there could be considerations for separate, outside areas.
The lone dissenting vote was from Loren Jones of Juneau, who represents public health on the board.