Budtender Kate Panetta of Natural Remedies, in Denver, Colorado. Alaska Police Standards Council has decided that officers and prison guards should not own or operate marijuana businesses. (Hyoung Chang, Denver Post file)

Alaska cops and prison guards banned from owning or operating cannabis businesses

The council had cited the ongoing federal ban as a contributing factor to its decision

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Alaska Police Standards Council has decided officers and prison guards in the state should not be getting involved in the marijuana industry.

The council voted earlier this month to ban police from “owning or operating a marijuana business,” KTUU-TV reported.

The council had cited the ongoing federal ban as a contributing factor to its decision.

Council director Bob Griffiths said the matter needed to be addressed as the marijuana business continues taking hold in Alaska.

“In light of Alaskans’ proud entrepreneurial spirit, the council felt it may be only a matter of time before a certified officer considered pursuing a license to possess, distribute, or cultivate marijuana in Alaska,” Griffiths wrote in a statement. “The council decided to send a loud and clear message to those officers considering such an endeavor, that this activity was inconsistent with the ethics of professional law enforcement and is prohibited under current state regulations.”

Any certified police officer found to be operating a marijuana business since the rule has passed will lose their ability to work for a police department or any other law enforcement agency across the state.

An Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman said officers and other department employees must already pass a drug test upon hire and again if they are promoted, are involved in a car crash or are suspected of using the drug.

Alaska voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2014. Retail sale began in late 2016.

Information from: KTUU-TV, http://www.ktuu.com