'Unfair' Rules Proposed For People Who Want To Work In Alaska's Marijuana Shops

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Alaskas growing marijuana industry is attracting workers, but proposed regulations for employees that many have deemed too harsh may keep industry hopefuls from entering the field.

State Marijuana Control Board Chairman Peter Mlynarik said the rules are meant to ensure new hires have some sort of background check. But critics question why they are inconsistent with those required for similar worker permits for Alaskas alcohol businesses.

Steven Cehula, who plans on working in the industry, said the proposed rules for occupational licensing are incongruent with the voice of the people and unfair.

This is limiting opportunities for employment without any tangible benefit for the state or city. Disqualifying potential cannabis workers for something that would not preclude them from working in the alcohol or tobacco industry simply doesnt make sense, Cehulda told the Alaska Journal of Commerce.

Under the draft regulations, Alaskans cant obtain a marijuana handlers permit if they have a felony conviction in the last five years, have been convicted of illegally selling alcohol in the last five years or have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime involving violence, weapons, dishonesty, or a controlled substance.

The rules differ from employee licensing requirements for Alaskas alcohol businesses, which require new hires to complete training for an Alcohol Professionals card, also known as a TAP card.

Applicants for the card have no criminal restrictions at all, according to Kirsten Myles, vice president of operations for the Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant, and Retail Association. The lobbying organization represents alcohol and hospitality business interests in Alaska.

Myles said placing too many hiring restrictions on marijuana dispensaries is bad for business.

It doesnt make any sense, she said. Its hard enough to find good employees for any business.

Alaskas proposed rules differ from those implemented in other states that have legalized marijuana.

Colorados application for a permit says the state will deny applicants with any conviction for a controlled substance-related felony over the last 10 years or any felony over the last five years. The state does not ...

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