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We Build Alaska

The Anchorage Assembly should approve drive-thru service for cannabis stores

On Tuesday, the Anchorage Assembly will hear Ordinance No. AO 2023-118, which would allow drive-thru service at cannabis retail stores in Anchorage. I support this ordinance.

Since Alaska voters legalized marijuana in 2014, the cannabis business has grown considerably. There are dozens of dispensaries in Anchorage, and many enjoy using cannabis for a variety of reasons.

Eighteen states already allow drive-thru sales at cannabis dispensaries. Elderly and medical users – some of whom have conditions that require them to keep a distance from others – would benefit from the convenience and safety of a drive-thru option.

Opponents say drive-thrus would lead to an increase in people driving while impaired. This is simply not true. People who choose to consume in their vehicle and then drive will do so whether they buy in a store or at a drive-thru. We have laws against driving while impaired, and those who violate those laws should be punished.

Opponents argue drive-thrus will make it easier for minors to buy cannabis. This is also not true. Laws on cannabis sales are stricter than alcohol. Dispensaries closely follow these laws as to not lose their license to operate. Staff are trained to properly identify ID to ensure they do not sell to minors.

Privacy is something Alaskans cherish. Some want to keep their cannabis purchases confidential. With a drive-thru option, customers can maintain a higher level of privacy than by making a purchase inside a store.

Drive-thrus are also better for security. Robust security measures, like cameras and controlled access, make transactions safer for customers and staff. It also reduces theft and robbery. Retail dispensaries are primarily a cash business, making them attractive for would-be robbers. A drive-thru option would allow stores to still make sales at night while closing for walk-in traffic.

It is also more convenient, especially in winter. When it is cold and icy outside during our long winters, using a drive-thru is easier and safer. It also makes it more convenient for those with mobility issues.

The Assembly should pass this commonsense ordinance to make cannabis sales safer and more convenient in Anchorage.

Ivie Anderson has been a resident of Alaska for 25 years. She graduated from the University of Alaska, Anchorage in 2004 with a degree in accounting. She has been an owner and/or manager of several Alaskan businesses, including Vito’s Auto Sales, Wood Shed Bar, USA Financial, and Cannabliss. 

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Tucker
1 month ago

I would like to see drive -thru alcohol services at liquor stores. All the reasons listed in this oped apply to alcohol as well. It would be way more convenient for someone like me who has mobility issues. Great idea!

Scott
1 month ago
Reply to  Tucker

Agree, it’s risky to walk through a snowy parking lot when I am drunk off my ass.

Tucker
1 month ago
Reply to  Scott

Way to assume someone who might like a bottle of wine for dinner or as a gift is a drunk. Thank you.

Akwhitty
1 month ago

Isn’t there a delivery service. There was when I was toking.