How Anti-Smoking Bill Would Hit Alaska Cannabis Cafes Culture


Legalization of cannabis use for medical purpose and for recreational purpose is in progress across the United States. As some of the states have already legalized regulated use of cannabis, the business opportunities have begun to appear in the market. Alaska’s cannabis cafes were overwhelmed with joy when use of cannabis was legalized in the state. The cannabis social clubs and cafes were expecting to get a great shot with it. But now anti-smoking groups are lobbying to make the government introduce anti-smoking legislation, that, if passed, is going to hit cannabis cafes and social clubs the most.

About Alaska Anti-Smoking Legislation

In 2015, Alaska was poised to gain the status of being the first U.S. state to legalize cannabis consumption in businesses open to the public. The Alaska Marijuana Board spent time and effort to draft regulations. But anti-smoking advocates are now demanding statewide indoor smoking ban. The Alaska Legislature may pass it or maybe it’ll die on the table of Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, chairman of the legislative committee considering the bill.

The bill was drafted to protect Alaskan from the hazards of smoking tobacco, but will also include cannabis.

What Smoking Ban Would Mean

If the legislation is passed, then smoking will be completely banned in workplaces, businesses and public places including bars. Similar bans are already in effect in Anchorage, Juneau and several other communities. In brief, indoor smoking would be limited to personal spaces (home) only.

Some of the activists also want ban on both e-cigarettes and vaporizers.

How It Would Kill Alaska Cannabis Café culture?

Despite the fact that the Marijuana Control Board had, in last November, established a category for retail businesses that would allow on-site cannabis consumption, campaigns and demands of anti-smoking activists are haunting cannabis cafes and cannabis social clubs. It’s quite obvious that smoking ban would adversely hit the cannabis cafes culture, encouraging outdoor use, like on roadsides and cars parked in lots. If smoking and vaporizers are not allowed, there is no way these cafes will be able to sustain.

Disruption Of Cannabis Business And Cafes In Disguise Of Smoking Ban

Opponents of the anti-smoking legislation include e-cigarette and vaporizer manufacturers, and owners and members of Alaskan cannabis cafes. In their point of view, the smoking ban is an effort in disguise to curb the cannabis cafe culture in Alaska.

Moreover, the board had itself claimed that allowing adults to consume cannabis legally inside regulated businesses and spaces would help reduce illegal consumption on the streets, in vehicles, parks etc. Unfortunately, some lawmakers are trying trying to move Alaska backwards.

Why Ban Would Aggravate Situation?

If the anti-smoking legislation is passed, it would be a great shock for the Alaskan cannabis cafe culture that was just still waiting to get a good shot at a legitimate business with legalization. However, the bill undermines the current regulatory system and ignores the value such places would bring. The ban is likely to push Alaska into the same position as other states are in terms of their struggle to regulate cannabis use as it will only push more people to smoke in public.

The opponents of this anti-smoking bill argue that the policy should be given a chance to function before it’s undermined by lawmakers. The lawmakers must also ponder the effects of the smoking ban. Campaigns for legalization of cannabis consumption are gaining momentum, and it would be wiser to better regulate its use instead of forcing adult cannabis consumers into the public, forcing them to violate the law and waste our resources.

Featured photo by Charlesblack under creative common license.