OK, this is not an essay, and in spite of just celebrating the Fourth of July, not about freedom, but I'm running out of catchy titles.
Executive Summary: There has been a lot happening. Taxes, MCB, TSA, Enforcement, and a number of other things, you should take a minute to read. I have been trying to get in a few Alaska things done and enjoy summer for the first time in a couple of years I have had vacation time so there is some information that you need to get.
First, a reminder that the MCB is going to be meeting in Fairbanks THIS WEEK. If you can be there please do, Fairbanks is a great place for a tan this time of year, I recommend SPF 8000. Be aware that there are a number of moving parts involved with this meeting. There are going to be closing public remarks as well as opening remarks for items that are NOT on the agenda, but I also want to remind you that there is an Executive Session at the start of the meeting and those can go short or long.
The TSA. There was a request from the TSA to be at the airport a couple of hours before your flight if you are transporting. There were some questions as to why they were expecting us to be arriving so early. I ask about it and was assured that we weren't being singled out the concern is just a regular Alaskan summertime reflex. The TSA is concerned about the volume of people that are moving through the airports. And they just want to keep the process moving at a good pace and they are asking us to do what everyone else is doing during the summer. You may or may not have noticed that the number of tourists that visit the state climbs every year and that makes for more congestion since they are not hiring more workers to meet this demand. If you follow the trends this is true at airports across the country. The solution of course is to properly staff to meet the increased demand, right. If you plan to go early it should help you make your flight on time if you get inspected.
Taxes. There has been a lot of discussion about the tax structure for the last couple of years and outside of the process, it is the tax structure that everyone is discussing. Jana Weltzin is going to be making a power point presentation on Taxes and if you want to know what is going on you can follow by downloading that presentation which is already posted online inside the current agenda on the AMCO site. The AMIA is currently working with Legislators, Dept. of Commerce, and Dept. of Revenue on this. So we haven't been sitting on our thumbs, and as soon as I have an update you'll have an update. But remember that the tax structure is a statute and not a regulation. As a statute issue it has to be addressed by the Legislature and the Governor and Commerce and Revenue. So there are bunches of hoops to jump through, and we are still jumping for you. Expect some news soon.
Hemp. First of all you are going to stop calling it Hemp soon. So you may as well get used to calling it what is being used in International standards - Non Resin Cannabis. So the way that the scientists are separating what you call Hemp and Marijuana (which is actually a derogatory term in itself) is by calling Marijuana/Cannabis, Resin Cannabis, and calling Hemp, Non-Resin Cannabis. It is actually more accurate and gets the people who think that Hemp is Marijuana off our backs. So you may as well learn to love it now. The Non-Resin Cannabis ("Industrial Hemp") regs are now in the works and are going to the Legislature and to Dept. of Natural Resources. We have made some comments on them and it looks like the Industrial Hemp (Non-Resin Cannabis) project is going to move forward. I am going to post those regs in a PDF on the website.
This probably one of the most important things that I am going to discuss today and that is the Enforcement Fines. These will also be posted as a PDF on the website. so as not to go into detail here, the idea is that infractions will carry fines and these will be identified and structure for what they are and what happens at different levels (1st infraction, 2nd infraction, etc.) will be set. I REALLY recommend that you read through both of these documents that have been released (again posted to the website.) This restructuring is involved enough that AMCO and the MCB are opening up a PUBLIC TESTIMONY space DURING the meeting in Fairbanks to let people comment. There are some things to remember here, YOU WILL HAVE TO SIGN UP BEFORE YOU ARE GOING TO SPEAK AND THERE ARE DEADLINES FOR DOING SO. Again, read the documents and you'll see what I am talking about here. There are a number of changes and this appears to be a mostly positive move, but this is one of those things that you need to read yourself and then speak on if you feel so moved. The AMIA will be speaking at this open public testimony.
Again, READ THESE DOCUMENTS.
Last thing. We said we were forming up committees and we have. There are 2 committees that are going to be important to you and if you have the time and desire you need to be aware of, one is the Membership and Fundraising Committee, the other is Governance and Public Relation Committee. If you have the time and the inclination we are always looking for dedicated members who want to be involved in the process, here is your chance to be involved in a big way.