Fairbanks City Councilman David Pruhs has pointed out on multiple occasions some bar owners run excellent establishments that contribute to this community, while other bar owners put their clients at risk on a regular basis. Councilman Pruhs also predicted Fairbanks eventually would see the same dichotomy within Alaska’s budding marijuana industry.
Last week, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board cracked down on a local company for nine violations. Frozen Budz — one of Alaska’s largest cannabis edibles manufacturers — was slapped with a $500,000 fine and its license was revoked. Accusations against Frozen Budz include moldy marijuana, failure to test their products, allowing on-site consumption, improper labeling and violating waste notification requirements. The owners deny on-site consumption occurred. To be clear, Frozen Budz also has a retail store on Van Horn Road, which is still open.
Alaska Marijuana Control Board Chairman Peter Mlynarik stated the cannabis edible manufacturer “put the public at significant risk by selling products that were not safe, tested or tracked.”
What can we take away from this?
First, Alaskans can take comfort that regulation will be enforced. There was fear among some in the anti-pot camp — heading into October’s election, which contained a local referendum to shut down the legal marijuana industry — that regulation would not be enforced because of heavy influence from Marijuana Conrtrol Board members who are part of the cannabis industry. It appears that will not have an effect on the board.
For the industry, this is a critical moment. The example has been set and the penalties are no small potatoes. Owners of cannabis businesses can play by the rules or find themselves watching from the sidelines. When customers purchase marijuana they should be able to trust they are getting exactly what the label says they are buying.
The cannabis industry had a decisive victory in the October election, but it remains under a microscope. Pot is still illegal at the federal level, and many in the Interior oppose it. Some are waiting and hoping the cannabis industry fails.
However, there are members of the cannabis industry who are business professionals. They are working hard to disprove stereotypes about “the lazy stoner on the couch.” If the cannabis industry wants to be accepted and be treated as any other industry, it needs to prove it cares about its customers by following the regulations designed to protect these customers.
— Fairbanks Daily News-Miner,