Alaska Marijuana Control Board Considers Allowing Outside Investment in Testing Facilities

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The Alaska Marijuana Control Board is seeking public comment on proposed rules that would allow limited investment in cannabis testing facilities from outside the state, reversing an earlier policy that prohibited such investments.

Testing is currently a bottleneck for the state’s cannabis industry, according to anAlaska Journal of Commerce report. All cannabis products must pass through one of the state’s three operating testing facilities before ending up on retail shelves. The labs are located in Anchorage, Wasilla and Ketchikan, with a fourth facility approved to open in Juneau, pending final inspection, according to the Alaska Journal of Commerce.

High costs have been a barrier to entry for testing facilities, the news outlet reported; on top of the $2,000 license application fee, labs must employ a scientific director with very specific qualifications, and the fee to renew a testing facility license is currently $2,000 with a separate proposed regulation pending that would raise the cost to $5,000 for renewals.

The Marijuana Control Board originally stipulated that only Alaska residents could own or invest in testing facilities, in part to keep the state’s cannabis industry in the hands of Alaskans, according to the Alaska Journal of Commerce. Now, however, the state’s small population and the industry’s lack of banking and loan services have limited the capital available for testing facilities, prompting a change in rules.

The Marijuana Control Board voted to gather public comment on its proposed rules to allow new cannabis testing facility license applicants to seek funding from investors outside the state, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported.

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