A new ordinance proposes expanding alcohol’s open container laws to cannabis in Anchorage, Alaska.
The city’s assembly members, Amy Demboski and Ernie Hall, plan to introduce a total of four proposed laws that will refine existing marijuana regulations. For the moment, the ordinances will be debated among Anchorage Assembly members, but the state’s general public will have an opportunity to express its opinions at a later date.
According to Hall, the new cannabis ordinances are meant to match the local municipal code with statewide cannabis laws. They cover everything from possession in rented vehicles to the definition of personal cultivation.
Chiefly, the ordinances will directly influence how individuals may transport cannabis and marijuana goods within Anchorage city limits. Under the proposed new rules, citizens must keep cannabis and all by-products outside of the vehicle’s passenger compartment. Simply put, marijuana must be carried in the trunk. For vehicles without defined trunk space, marijuana should be stored behind the last row of upright seating.
Exceptions to this rule will be motorcycles and chartered vehicles. Motorbikes will be allowed to transport marijuana, and charter vehicles with the capacity for 12 or more individuals may have cannabis in the passenger compartment. As it stands, attorneys in Colorado and Washington already recommend trunk storage for cannabis.
As for licensed limousines, riders may carry cannabis in the passenger compartment as long as the windows are tinted and the driver partition is up. The proposed ordinances do not stipulate whether or not individuals can consume the plant while inside the rented limo.
Nevertheless, Dan Baird, the proprietor of a local limo company, says:
“We would not want to permit any drug use of any type beyond alcohol. That smoke would definitely go up in the driver’s area…like cigarette smoke.”
The proposed ordinances’ main focus is adding cannabis to existing open container laws. However, local attorneys Christie White and Seneca Theno stated in a memo that cannabis’ “packing will not lend itself to open versus closed distinctions.”
Anchorage will try mimicking alcohol’s successful policies with these four proposed municipal ordinances. Attorneys say the “trunk rule” is a way of adapting such laws for the nuances of cannabis.
Alison Masbury, a Seattle attorney with cannabis-industry clients wrote,
“I am not aware of any other states that have expanded their open container laws to include marijuana.”
With cannabis legalization beginning to spread, state governments must now figure out how to regulate the plant and its use. The Anchorage Assembly will proceed with discussing these new ordinances and how they might impact the state’s young marijuana industry.