COMFORT FOOD – From left, Xannie Borseth, Clara Gray and Mary Ferguson prepare herring eggs this morning in front of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska's Healing House. STA staff and volunteers spent the morning processing branches of herring roe and the afternoon delivering the branches to tribal elders and others. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson) 

Alaska Cannabis Industry Now Lobbying Government

    ANCHORAGE (AP) — Since recreational use became legal in Alaska, marijuana businesses have joined other state industries such as oil and fishing in working to influence how their sector is regulated.
    Marijuana businesses are holding fundraisers and interacting with local and state leaders to try to build the industry’s political capital, The Anchorage Daily News reported  Sunday.
    The lobbying efforts are aimed at shaping everything from rules restricting signage to how the industry is taxed.
    Anchorage marijuana attorney Jana Weltzin encourages her clients to engage with politicians and make donations.
    “It’s really important if you don’t like the way the government is handling its business to be involved and to make that known and to contribute to the politicians that you think will change the system,” Weltzin said.
    Anchorage Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar, who is running for mayor in 2021, said the marijuana business has always been “more sophisticated than people think.”
    Weltzin said the industry can point out loopholes and the unintended consequences of regulation, which she predicted will continue to change over the next three years.
    “It’s still evolving,” she said. “In 2016, these regulations were made with no real understanding of how it was going to look in real life.”
    The state currently imposes a marijuana weight tax of $800 per pound (0.45 kilograms), meaning the highest and lowest quality marijuana is taxed at the same rate.
    Within the industry there is debate whether the tax burden should be spread throughout the process of cultivation, manufacturing and retail sales. Some want a sales tax while others want a lower weight tax.
    Making tax adjustments is an industry priority, but the goal is not to buy off politicians, Weltzin said.
    “What we want is responsible legislation, common-sense legislation, but not open up the floodgates and just treat it like it’s a gas station,” she said.
    Weltzin added: “It’s still a substance that needs to be valued and respected and kept away from kids, because that would be the downfall of the industry.”
   

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 4-5-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of noon Sunday.

New cases as of yesterday: 6

Total cases: 191

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 23, and the cumulative number of deaths is six.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

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Welcome to the Sitka Sentinel's web page. In order to make the Sentinel's news more easily available during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken down the paywall to access articles on this page. Just click on an article headline to read the story. 

March 23, 2020

NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHERS

TO READERS AND ADVERTISERS

For the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency declared by federal, state and local authorities, the Sentinel is taking additional measures to reduce virus exposure to its employees and contractors as well as to the public, while continuing to publish a daily news report for Sitka.

To the extent possible, Sentinel news and sales staff will be working from home. For the protection of our carriers, home delivery of the newspaper will be stopped effective Tuesday, March 24.

The Sentinel will continue to publish on its website sitkasentinel.com. Access to the website will be free to all users. The Sentinel will also produce a print edition Monday through Friday. It will be available to all readers without charge, at locations throughout town.

Initially, these locations are those where the Sentinel's newspaper vending machines are already in place. The coin mechanisms will be disabled or the doors removed to permit easy access. The Sentinel will work with the stores where the paper is usually sold, to designate a place inside or outside the store where the free edition can be made available.  

Home delivery subscriptions are on hold, and after the end of the disaster emergency, subscriptions will be extended at no charge for the number of days that there was no home delivery.

The Sentinel will make its print edition available to the public as early in the day as possible. with all personnel taking precautions to prevent spread of the virus.

The Sentinel is calling upon its customers to observe the COVID-19 emergency precautions already in place, particularly in maintaining a six-foot social distance from others at newspaper distribution sites.

Following is the statement issued by the Sentinel on March 16, stating the Sentinel's emergency procedures, which remain in effect.

The Sentinel office at 112 Barracks Street is closed to the public. We encourage people to use the phone, email or the U.S. Postal Service as much as possible.There is a slot in the front door of the office for ads, news items and payment checks. Emails may be sent to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the phone number is (907) 747-3219.                                                                          

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