Senate committee continues hearing on marijuana regulations, implementation

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JUNEAU, Alaska — Health concerns and workplace issues were flagged for further consideration by Alaska lawmakers as they continue work on drafting regulations for the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Alaska's chief medical officer, Jay Butler, told a Senate committee there are many unknowns regarding marijuana's impacts, but said a public education campaign on potential risks is needed.

Workforce representatives also talked about industry challenges. Those include federal regulations that require certain occupations to have a zero-tolerance policy on drugs, some employers' desire to prohibit marijuana use and the potential for difficulty filling jobs.

Voters in November approved an initiative under which recreational marijuana becomes legal Feb. 24. The state then has nine months to write regulations. The Senate committee has been holding hearings to prepare for its involvement in vetting a commercialization bill.

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