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Lawmakers introduce proposal for commercial marijuana

Feb 25, 2015 -- 3:30pm
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Alaska lawmakers have presented a preliminary plan for regulating a new commercial marijuana industry. The Senate Judiciary Committee introduced a bill Wednesday that details some components of a commercial marijuana industry, including taxes, licensing and regulations. Personal possession, transportation and growth of certain quantities of marijuana became legal for adults 21 and older in Alaska on Tuesday, and the state now has nine months to draft rules for the industry. The bill details the types of marijuana-related business licenses that would be available and specifies that they could only be granted to Alaska residents and includes ways for communities to control local licensing decisions. The bill also would limit advertising and potency.

Nageak taken from Capitol by ambulance

Feb 25, 2015 -- 3:15pm
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A Barrow state representative was taken by ambulance from the state Capitol Wednesday. House Speaker Mike Chenault said Rep. Benjamin Nageak wasn't feeling well and given his medical history, it was thought better to have Nageak checked by medical personnel. In 2013, Nageak had stents put in place after doctors found blockages in his heart.  Senate majority press secretary Carolyn Kuckertz said Sens. Cathy Giessel and Donny Olson looked at Nageak along with paramedics. Both have medical backgrounds. Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, who was seated by Nageak, said Nageak was "clearly in pain" Wednesday as he sat down after speaking to a resolution regarding the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The House majority's deputy press secretary said Nageak's office told him Nageak was stable and undergoing routine checks at a Juneau hospital.

Anchorage police cite 3 for public pot smoking

Feb 25, 2015 -- 3:00pm
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The legalization of marijuana in Alaska didn't go as flawlessly as first thought. Anchorage police said in a release that officers issued two citations Tuesday night, but later updated that figure to three. Those came on the first day a new law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana took effect. Smoking pot in public remains illegal. Police say one $100 citation was issued to a man near the downtown bus station. Another was issued to an 18-year-old male in downtown Anchorage. He also got a misdemeanor citation for consuming the drug as a minor. A third citation was issued to a 22-year-old woman. An Anchorage police spokeswoman on Wednesday initially said no citations had been issued. Police in Fairbanks, Kenai and other communities did not report any violations Wednesday morning.

Minority lawmakers push back on education budget proposal

Feb 25, 2015 -- 2:45pm
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A House subcommittee has proposed deeper cuts to the state education department budget than Gov. Bill Walker, prompting objections from the Democratic-led minority. The subcommittee's recommendations include eliminating state support for the early-childhood Best Beginnings program, cutting funding for broadband and a cut equal to the 2.5-percent raises due to department employees. The recommendations will go to the House Finance Committee for consideration as it crafts its version of the operating budget. Whatever passes the House would have to be considered by the Senate. Subcommittee chair Lynn Gattis said Alaska's budget situation requires tough decisions. Still, Reps. Sam Kito III and Dan Ortiz questioned the rationale behind some of the proposed cuts. 

Alaska becomes 3rd state with legal marijuana

Feb 24, 2015 -- 12:00pm
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Alaska has become the third state in the U.S. to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. A ballot measure approved by Alaska votes in November kicks in Tuesday, allowing adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of pot and up to six plants. Regulations for the sale of the drug till must be hammered out. Smoking marijuana in public remains off-limits, and police officers in Alaska's largest city plan to strictly enforce the public ban. Fear of people getting $100 fines for toking in public led an organizer to call off plans for a celebration party in downtown Anchorage. Marijuana legalization supporters in Anchorage want the event to be low-key. They also plan to launch an advertising campaign recommending safe consumption, including ads on city buses.

Lost crab pots still catching king crab in Kodiak Island bay

Feb 24, 2015 -- 11:45am
- KODIAK, Alaska (AP) - Federal biologists say derelict crab pots lost on the bottom of a Kodiak Island bay are capturing significant numbers of its king crab. The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports biologists Peter Cummiskey and Eric Munk and analyst Chris Long studied 192 king crab fitted with acoustic tags between 1991 and 2008 in Womens Bay. When the crab stopped moving, Cummiskey and Munk would dive to find them. Long says 32 of the tagged crab were found in abandoned pots, the traps used by fishermen to catch crab. Twelve were dead and 20 alive and freed. Pots are supposed to be equipped with "biodegradable escape mechanisms" that rot and allow crab to escape from lost crap pots. Long says 62 percent of the pots found did not have biodegradable release mechanisms.
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