Juneau Assembly approves new pot licensing rules

Voters approved the legal the production, sale and use of marijuana for Alaskans over 21 years old in the Nov. election. (Creative Commons Photo by Brett Levin)

(Creative Commons photo by Brett Levin)

The Juneau Assembly approved new guidelines for a city pot license on Monday. Those seeking to cultivate commercial marijuana will have to apply for the $250 license, in addition to the state’s.

It’s part of the assembly’s attempt to streamline the conditional use permit process and establish new guidelines for marijuana businesses.

Commercial pot grows are zoned for industrial areas and some low-density neighborhoods, like parts of Thane, North Douglas and out the road. Lisa Cone, a North Douglas resident, testified that she wasn’t happy about the possibility of living next to a grow operation.

“We’re at the point where we have to sort of put up with what’s going on at North Douglas. Even though all the neighbors that we’ve spoken with are in disagreement about what’s going on,” Cone said. “But I feel strongly that individuals who are growing out there need to live on their properties.”

The new guidelines say a person must live on site if they are cultivating commercial marijuana in a neighborhood. That could be the owner or a tenant. Grow houses must be set back 25 feet from the property line.

Two people testified that the shifting regulations could discourage new business. They said some of the regs were based on antiquated fears. But Assemblymember Kate Troll said that wasn’t the case.

“We want to proceed with this. I feel that we aren’t driven by ‘Reefer Madness’ in assuming that everyone’s a bad hippy for those previous days,” Troll said.

The assembly approved the city marijuana licensing ordinance and changes 7-2, with Assemblymembers Mary Becker and Jerry Nankervis voting no.

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