The Juneau Assembly approved an ordinance Monday that allows patrons to consume marijuana edibles inside licensed retailers and smoke in designated outdoor areas.
The vote was 6-2, with one Assembly member absent. Assembly member Mary Becker voted against it, saying she would prefer marijuana not be used at all.
Mayor Beth Weldon also voted against it, but only because she took issue with allowing smoking in public.
“I don’t care if you’re inside or outside eating the edibles,” Weldon said at the meeting. “What I do have a problem with is the smoke.”
The Assembly added marijuana smoke to the city’s indoor smoking ban in 2015 after recreational marijuana became legal. It updated the smoking restrictions last fall, including adding marijuana vaping.
At Monday night’s meeting, Weldon proposed an amendment to the ordinance to only allow vaping outside, but it failed.
Several community members testified both in favor of and against the ordinance.
Business owners like John Nemeth, who co-owns the Juneau-based marijuana company Top Hat Concentrates, encouraged the Assembly not to completely close the door on indoor smoking for future consideration.
Still, Nemeth said he was happy with Monday’s result. Until now, retailers were forced to tell customers off the cruise ships there was no place they could legally use products.
“This is a great step in the right direction,” Nemeth said. “It’s something we never thought we’d see here in Juneau and it’s giving people a safe place to consume.”
Nemeth said his business, which currently manufactures marijuana products, has plans to open a retail shop in the future.
The ordinance will take effect in 30 days. Businesses must receive an endorsement from the state Marijuana Control Board before they can offer on-site consumption.
Things are happening in Alaska
Jump straight to the exciting parts with insightful (and entertaining) Alaska news from The Signal, the news email you’ll wish came more than once a week.
- Prospective candidates must file by Monday, Aug. 19.
With fall storm season looming, a struggle to keep one village school’s fuel tanks from falling into the Kuskokwim RiverThe Lower Kuskokwim School District is developing a plan to avert environmental disaster
- A Recall Dunleavy organizer says the campaign isn’t slowing down after the veto reversals.
- "Molly of Denali" is the first national children's TV show to feature an Alaska Native lead. Some of the show’s creators came to Juneau and put on a vocal acting workshop to help local kids find their own voices.