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Lawmaker favors separate board to oversee regulation of legalized marijuana in Alaska

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JUNEAU, Alaska — A state senator said she supports creating a new board to oversee regulation of the marijuana industry in Alaska.

Marijuana will be one of the issues facing lawmakers when they convene next month after voters passed a law legalizing and regulating recreational use of pot.

The measure, which takes effect early next year, allows lawmakers to create a marijuana control board rather than assign oversight responsibilities to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

The incoming chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lesil McGuire, said she plans to file legislation that would allow the substances to be managed separately.

McGuire, an Anchorage Republican who voted for the initiative, said her bill also might address marijuana advertising and drug safety issues. She also plans to look at the interplay of state and federal laws.

"I think this is going to be the most challenging issue we will have to face," she said. "It's still illegal under federal law to consume marijuana. So what happens when someone who lives in rural Alaska is transporting that marijuana via their boat?"

Overall, she said her goal is to implement the will of voters.

A legislative research brief requested by McGuire examined the potential costs and the logistics of implementing the law and included an estimate that the state will net up to $3 million from marijuana commercialization in the first year, APRN reported (http://bit.ly/15QTGSC ) on Wednesday.

By 2020, as regulation costs drop and the marijuana industry matures, the state could see more than $20 million in annual tax revenue, it said.

Previously, Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, announced plans to file legislation that would prevent marijuana retailers from operating near schools, churches and parks.

Multiple pot bills likely will be combined into one omnibus bill, McGuire said.

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