Written byJason Brandeis

The commercial marijuana industry in Alaska continues to grow. As this recent Anchorage Daily News article reported, the state collected nearly $1 million in marijuana tax revenue in October, and the industry has generated nearly $5 million in taxes during its first year of existence.

The interest in this industry and its quick expansion has led to many unexpected legal issues and controversies, most of which stem from the ongoing tension between state marijuana legalization and federal marijuana prohibition. Keeping up with these matters can be challenging. In my practice, I regularly work with businesses and government regulators to help them understand, comply with, and remain up-to-date on rapidly-evolving marijuana laws and policies. On Friday, December 8, 2017, I will join a group of other industry professionals in speaking about current marijuana business law topics at the National Business Institute’s day-long seminar titled Recreational Marijuana Business Law In Alaska.

My first presentation will be on how federal law impacts the Alaska marijuana industry and will include a discussion of preemption and the Controlled Substances Act, the contradictory messages found in federal policy memos, current federal marijuana enforcement priorities, possible legal consequences for marijuana consumers under federal law, and how marijuana legalization affects state agencies and federal funding. My second presentation looks at the ethical issues marijuana legalization poses for attorneys who work with marijuana clients. Other presenters at the seminar will discuss banking, business formation, licensing, product packaging, testing methods, and taxation.

This continuing legal education (CLE) event is relevant for many people working with marijuana clients, including attorneys, accountants and CPAs, bankers and commercial lenders, financial advisors, and paralegals. For more details and for information on how to register, visit the NBI website.