Alaska CBD Laws: 2019 Legal Hemp Regulations in AK, US

Legal analysis of Alaska's CBD laws and how the state regulates hemp-derived cannabidiol cannabis extract-infused products in AK, US

Being an informed consumer is one of the best things that users can do when it comes to cannabidiol. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, states are permitted to issue their own laws and regulations concerning cannabidiol.

States that have legalized hemp or CBD in one way or the other have their own regulations concerning the substance. Being aware that regulations can provide individuals with insight into how the substance is treated in each particular case.

Therefore, those who are interested in using should understand the laws of their own state. Because the substance is treated differently from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and, the fact that laws are constantly changing, it is best to regularly research the issue and to stay abreast of any new laws and regulations.

This overview will provide information on how hemp regulation and cultivation practices are treated in Alaska. When it comes to this state, here is what seems to be the state of CBD oil’s legal status.

The Definitions of Cannabidiol and Industrial Hemp

Under Alaska law, “cannabidiol oil” is defined as “the viscous liquid concentrate of cannabidiol extracted from the plant (genus) Cannabis containing not more than 0.3 percent delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.”

As for marijuana, industrial hemp is not included in the definition. Industrial hemp is defined as “an agricultural crop in the state. Individuals are permitted to produce industrial hemp, so long as they apply to the department for registration under Sec. 03.05.076. Registration is valid for one year and it may be renewed.

All applications for renewal must follow the form prescribed by the Department of Public Safety, which means that it must include, among other things, the name and address of the applicant, the address and global positioning system coordinates of the area to be used for production of industrial hemp, including growing, harvesting, possessing, transporting, processing, selling, or buying the hemp.

Alaska’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program

In 2018, Alaska’s former governor Bill Walker signed Senate Bill 6 into law. The bill authorized the state to develop a pilot program for industrial hemp growers, according to a report by Anchorage Daily News. The 2014 Federal Farm Bill provides authorization for the program and enables the state to go forward with the project.

Pilot programs could be launched, so long as they are created by the Department of Public Safety or an “institution of higher education in the state.” The pilot program’s purpose must be to study the growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp.

Participants of the pilot program can include:

“An institution of higher education in the state, the division of the department with responsibility for agriculture, or an individual registered under AS 03.04.076 may participate in an agricultural pilot program created” by the Department of Public Safety or an institution of higher education.”

Thereafter, the state began to contemplate an industrial hemp program. Particularly, the Alaska Division of Agriculture and the Alaska Department of Law corroborated to develop the plan, which would permit farms to begin growing hemp.

In June 2019, the state’s Division of Agriculture issued a press release in which it announced the release of draft industrial hemp regulations. According to the press release, the state defines industrial hemp as all of the parts and varieties of the Cannabis sativa L. plant that do not contain more than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana.

Since the state has developed its Industrial Hemp Pilot program website. The website provides users with insight into the proposed regulations for the program, and a current list of questions and answers for the Alaska Industrial Hemp Regulations as of June 20, 2019.

Alaska’s Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Unit Warning

Alaska has a Department of Law with a Consumer Protection Unit (“Unit”). The Unit recently released a warning concerning industrial hemp-derived products.

The warning first discussed that there is a “variety of industrial hemp-derived products that are currently not authorized for sale in Alaska.” Protects unauthorized for sale include ones “containing Cannabidiol (CBD) oil and extracts . . . [that] are unregulated and untested in the state at this time.” Without traceability, the products’ origins are unknown, making them potentially dangerous.

The warning also discusses that although Alaska’s laws authorized the Alaska Department of Natural Resources to create an Industrial Hemp Pilot Program for the purpose of researching growth, cultivation, and marketing of industrial health, the department is still in the process of creating the program. The program will test the products but has yet to register any grower, processor or marketing of industrial hemp in the state.

As for products that are available in many retail locations throughout the state, including those such as lotions, pet treatments, and consumables, they are not tested for purity or THC content. Thus, users should be wary of claims:

“Relating to the benefits and effects of CBD oil and products in providing a variety of health and wellness benefits may not have been evaluated by the state or federal agency, including the FDA. This is especially true with any foreign products imported into the state.”

Interestingly enough, the warning also discusses a recent statement by Cindy Franklin, the Assistant Attorney General. She stated:

“Claiming that a product provides pain or anxiety relief or some other health benefit without side effects is a sure way to sell a lot of product. Alaskans should be careful about what they ingest. Before putting anything in your body that claims it will help you, think carefully. Don’t assume that something is safe or will work just because it is trendy. Currently, these products are not an FDA approved food source and a large portion of these products may contain THC in unknown amounts.”

The Proposed Rules

The Department of Natural Resources has issued proposed rules, which can be found here. Because these are “proposed” rules, they have not yet been finalized. Those who produce industrial hemp in the state must have registration from the division to participate in the state’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. The rules identify three classes of participants, which include growers, retailers, and processors. To register, one must be 18 years or older.

It appears that under the proposed rules that unless one’s registration meets conditions set from another provision, the registration is valid from the date issued until January 1 of the following year. Those who apply for registration must file an application, and the application must include the information identified in the regulations. This information includes, but is not limited to, the applicant’s full legal name, proof of business entity, documentation validity, the authority of the signatory to bind the entity, applicant’s mailing address, and more. There is also an application process for renewals.

In addition to the proposed regulations dealing with applications, registration, applications, procedures for approvals, denials, modifications, and fees, there are also proposed specific provisions for registration specific to growers, processors, and retailers. Here is a general overview of each.

Grower Registration

This section indicates that a person is not permitted to grow industrial hemp unless the person has obtained a grower registration from the division in compliance with the chapter. Growers who have received registration are authorized do the following, including but not limited to, to grow industrial hemp, store industrial hemp, seed, and propagules, and to receive compensation for raw industrial hemp from a registered processor or other registered grower, if the hemp has been sampled and tested by the division and is found to contain less than 0.3% THC. There are many other provisions that apply in this section.

Processor Registration

This section provides that prior registration from the division in compliance with the chapter or in operation under the registration subject to the article may process industrial hemp from its raw form into another form or industrial hemp product. Like the grower registration section, this one provides what a processor is authorized to do. For example, a processor may, among other things, purchase and store raw industrial hemp, process industrial hemp, receive compensation for raw industrial hemp, conduct in-house testing for processor’s own use, transport industrial hemp product by meeting certain compliance criteria, and more. Similarly, there are many other provisions that apply in this section.

Retailer Registration

This section provides that a person may receive compensation for processed industrial hemp or such products from a consumer in the state if they have obtained a retailer registration from the division in compliance with the chapter or is operating under the registration subject to the article. A registered retailer is permitted to do the following, including but not limited to, import processed industrial hemp or such products, receive compensation for processed industrial hemp or such products, conduct in-house testing for the registrant’s own use, and more.

The proposed rules also identify hemp product endorsement regulations. Keep in mind that these are proposed rules and the final ones could differ Further, an interesting point is that the rules reference the 2014 Farm Bill. Therefore, the final rules may be a difference in that they reference the 2018 Farm Bill.

There is also a FAQ, which may be useful for those who are looking for more information, in addition to the full proposed rules, which can be found here.

Get the Facts About Marijuana from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Division of Public Health

A useful informational was released by the Department of Health and Social Services. This information touches upon a few points that may provide some clarity for those who are interested in using marijuana in the state. Here are the main points:

  • Only those who are 21 and over may legally possess and use marijuana. It is illegal to give marijuana to anyone who is under 21 years of age
  • Public use of marijuana, aside from “specially designated marijuana retail stores” is illegal
  • Responsible consumption occurs on private property
  • Users should check their local laws to determine whether marijuana is permitted by their HOA, hotel, or apartment complex
  • Marijuana possession is illegal under federal law
  • Marijuana cannot be used on federal land
  • Federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, which is in the same category as heroin and LSD
  • Driving under the influence of marijuana in Alaska is illegal (AS 28.35.030)
  • Employers in the state may have their own policies against the use

In addition to these main points, the information is also useful because it provides information on the effects of CBD. Thus, those who are looking for information on health considerations can find it in the aforementioned link. In addition, the state also provides a fact sheet on the facts about marijuana, which can be found here.

Summary

Overall, it seems that CBD and marijuana are legal in Alaska under certain circumstances. Keep in mind that the law is constantly changing, therefore it is best to always do one’s own research to determine the status of these substances.

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice or guidance. But simply general information. It is best to stay abreast of federal law and the law in one’s state and individuals are responsible for their own decisions concerning CBD and marijuana.


Disclaimer: This is not legal advice or guidance. But simply general information. It is best to stay abreast of federal law and the law in one’s state and individuals are responsible for their own decisions concerning CBD and marijuana.

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Mike Roets
Michael enjoys being a professional free lancer writer for the past handful of years who has a keen interest in health and wellness, and a personal liking of practicing nutritional hacks and habits. While he can go super-deep and break down everything from medical studies to legal literature, his well-versed style comes across in a clean, crisp, easy to digest manner. Lately, Mike has taking a liking to weeding out the bad actors in the natural product supplementation while giving unbias research and facts for all of those interested in living a higher quality of life.

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