Juneau approves marijuana on-site smoking ordinance


Smoking tobacco in public establishments is against the law in Alaska. But the state’s no-smoking law that passed one year ago has an intentional loophole for marijuana, and communities such as Fairbanks and Anchorage have used that loophole.

The City and Borough of Juneau is the latest to approve a new ordinance allowing onsite marijuana consumption as long as the pot smoking is done in an outdoor area.

The Juneau Assembly weighed how the ordinance somewhat contradicts the intent of Senate Bill 63, which was signed into law in July of 2018 generally prohibiting smoking in places like stores, bars, and restaurants. The American Lung Association says smoking is unsafe, whether it’s tobacco, marijuana, or anything else.

The new Juneau ordinance conforms to state regulations requiring the marijuana smoking to be done in a free-standing marijuana retail store, and the area must have a separate ventilation system or an outdoor consumption area that is isolated. Those on-site consumption rules were developed by the Marijuana Control Board over the past year.

Having a cannabis lounge option in Juneau will give tourists and others a place to smoke out of the public eye — and lungs. Currently, marijuana smoking is commonly seen and smelled in downtown Juneau on the streets, especially after hours. Proponents hope to slow down that practice.

The ordinance passed six to two, with Assembly members Mary Becker and Loren Jones voting against it.



    • I have been trying to open up a CIGAR shop with indoor smoking. I even told Juneau CC That I would purchase the 22,000 smoke filtering system. I presented various studies that cigar smoking doesn’t have any of the negative effects cigarettes have and they still deny me. I can’t start my business that harms no one, but the potheads can? (Nothing against potheads, but I remember when it was the other way around you were mad too).

  1. That’s fitting as government increasingly becomes the refuge of stoners. Alaska legislative bodies may approve of marijuana, but Workers’ Comp insurance providers don’t. Private employers can relatively easily and with few restrictions drug test as a condition of employment. Public employers are governmental actors and are restrained by at least the 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution and state constitutional analogs.

    A government can pierce these Constitutional protections only over very narrow grounds and those grounds must be clearly articulated, a compelling government interest established, and the remedy tailored as narrowly as possible to serve that interest. A government can drug test pre-employment, in a safety incident, or randomly in law enforcement, some transportation, and some other safety sensitive jobs. For any other public employees the government would have to meet something pretty close to the probable cause standard for getting a warrant to compel a drug test. The reality is that unless the employee was caught smoking dope on the job, if s/he has a hot UA, with Alaska’s privacy protections, all the employee has to do is say s/he got high at home last night. Many of you reading this might have noticed the IBU complaining about how many vacant positions there are in their unit. The real problem in hiring for these positions and in Alaska hire for transportation, law enforcement, or other safety sensitive positions is that so few Alaskans are qualified because they can’t pee in a bottle and pass a background check.

  2. Surprised you didn’t take your usual, pathetic anti-liberal tone.

    Maybe the sky won’t fall after we take over after all?

    • I will happily jump in. Increased use of marijuana will not create a more intelligent, more productive or more healthy society. I, and many others, will not cut stoners any slack. If you want to be indolent, confused and paranoid, go right ahead. Stay away from my family; if you endanger others, you will pay a price.

      • He’s a typical lefty; the only people they associate with are people as brainwashed/crazy as they are because sane people want nothing to do with them. Since they only associate with other lefties they think lefties are some great majority of the population instead of a meager 10-20% most of whom are too stoned or stupid to do anything organized. There was a great pic floating around awhile back with that little prick that got his 15 minutes of fame with the Parkland shooting. He has his fist in the air and is saying “We’re going to start a revolution!” A grizzled old sergeant says, “You couldn’t start a lawnmower.”

  3. As a visitor to this great state live free or die state that is I find a truly amazing that we regulate cigarette smoking allow our tourist operators to be stoned and take people on tours alcoholics that live in the street mental retarded people who stand and scream swearing at customers and I can’t smoke a cigarette I can’t smoke weed in public but I can sniff diesel fuel on the ferry to Haines and burn my nostrils and throat as I enjoy the beautiful scenery in the state I’m impressed that it took six years to pass the law what a waste of time and money you should be very proud of the millennial snowflake influenced that hit this great state. NOT.

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