Fairbanks is the latest municipality in Alaska to consider a citizen initiative to ban commercial marijuana businesses. Voters will be able to decide in October 2017 whether to approve the banning of marijuana businesses in their region. The approval came after a 5-month signature drive that collected enough signatures.
If the initiative passes, marijuana businesses would be banned from the Fairbanks municipality, Juneau Empire reports. North Pole voters spoke last week and rejected marijuana enterprises, including retail locations, growing facilities and testing labs. In Wasilla and Palmer, voters also rejected commercial marijuana business development.
Jim Ostlind of Salcha said that, “We think voters, and not the Borough Assembly, are far better equipped to evaluate marijuana businesses in an impartial and objective manner and decide if they belong in our community.”
When voters approved recreational marijuana in 2014, a provision to allow individual municipalities to ban the industry was in place. In Juneau and Anchorage, a public hearing must be held to obtain a permit to operate a marijuana business. Some claim that the zoning laws in Fairbanks are too lenient.
Fairbanks has issued roughly 50 permits for land use permits for marijuana businesses. This is far more than those approved for state licenses. As of now, two retail dispensary shops in Fairbanks are close to opening their doors for business.