On August 7, 2015, the Anchorage Police Department raided six marijuana businesses believed to be in violation of the law. No arrests were made, but law enforcement officials did confiscate large amounts of marijuana and marijuana products.
As one of four states in the nation with recreational marijuana, Alaska has been struggling with how it should regulate its market. One of the most pressing issues is whether or not to allow marijuana clubs and delivery services.
Although marijuana is not yet legal to sell in Alaska, many marijuana clubs and delivery services have sprouted up nonetheless. The business owners involved say that they are still abiding by the law because they are not directly selling marijuana.
In the case of marijuana clubs, the business is merely providing a place for people to legally use marijuana. Marijuana delivery services see themselves as legal because they are not charging customers for the marijuana itself, but rather for the delivery.
Because of the ambiguity of the law, Marijuana Control Board Executive Director Cynthia Franklin took steps to eliminate any confusion.
In July of this year, Franklin sent a letter to the six marijuana businesses involved in the raid, four marijuana clubs and two delivery services, asking them to cease all activities until the MCB could craft regulations on the issue.
Franklin said that her department would not take action until after the MCB’s meeting in August. Law enforcement officials took action against the businesses on Aug. 7, four days after the MCB had a work session meeting, yet three days before the full MCB meeting on Aug. 10.
One of the businesses involved in the raid was the Alaska Cannabis Club, which is owned and operated by marijuana activist Charlo Greene. Greene made international headlines in 2014 when she famously quit her job as a news anchor on-air while calling for the legalization of marijuana.
To Greene, and the other marijuana businesses involved in the raids, Franklin and the MCB are trampling on the rights of business owners.
“Here we are being harassed by the state, which refused to stand up and help patients when they needed it,” Greene told KTUU. “Now here I am trying to do good, not breaking any laws, and now here they are trampling on our rights.”
While no arrests were made, that does not mean Greene and the other business owners will not face charges. In a statement to the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, APD Spokeswoman Renee Oistad issued the following statement:
“Criminal investigations are being conducted on illegal drug distribution facilities by law enforcement … . In the event criminal charges are filed and arrests made, more information will be made available at that time.”