Alaska has become the first state to be progressive enough to allow marijuana use at pot shops. The board responsible for writing rules on recreational marijuana in Alaska has voted to allow people to use pot at certain stores that will sell it.
Growing up in the United States, where the drug war has raged expensively for decades, it was a novel experience to walk down the streets of Amsterdam when I traveled there, with open pot shops available to locals and tourists alike. These shops would sit right next to 500-year-old churches often frequented by the same people who had, hours before, tried ‘mellow yellow’ or ‘purple haze.’ As the use of marijuana, medical or recreational, becomes less of a stigma, the US just might benefit from observing how other countries handle ‘drug’ use.
It seems that Alaska regulators agree with the notion that pot use can extend outside of the home. Whether you’re buying marijuana in the form of CBD oil to treat an illness, or hash to smoke up at your next party, should it really be hidden until you are in your own home? People who purchase alcohol are allowed to pop the bottle open, on-site at restaurants, but we shun the use of pot at a pot shop? This is an argument used to expand freedom with marijuana use.
The 3-2 vote by the Marijuana Control Board also changed the definition of the term “in public” to allow for consumption at some pot shops, none of which are open yet. Colorado, Washington, and Oregon have legalized recreational marijuana as well, but do not allow its use in public, including at pot stores and dispensaries.
Last November it was voted that those 21 and older could purchase pot from recreational stores, but there have still been arguments over what ‘public’ places it can be used in. The board’s director has explained that they are debating where different forms of marijuana can be used. For instance, do they allow marijuana at office parties? Do they allow CBD oil use in schools?
In Colorado, where legalization banned pot use in public and in bars, marijuana tourists and activists have complained the limits are too restrictive.
Though there are obviously some details to work out, Alaska is taking a step forward to make the legalization of marijuana more user-friendly.