Alaska has made changes to setback zoning regulations, but small-scale growers in Mat-Su Valley are exempt. The Mat-Su valley is known for having great soil for marijuana cultivation, and is considered Alaska’s marijuana growing capital.
In August, borough regulations were put in place for cultivation, according to Adn.com. The new property setback is set at 100-feet from property lines with neighboring properties and 50-feet from roadsides. Some boroughs, like Palmer, don’t have formal zoning laws, so this remedies that.
The new regulations make cultivation operations that are 500-square-feet of operation space in one parcel exempt. About 20 applicants have applied for the limited-cultivation permits in Mat-Su. Houston regulates marijuana in a different manner. About 20 other applicants are applying for standard cultivation licenses, requiring more land.
The new regulations pose an issue for potential cultivator, Thomas Hannam. Hannam wants to use 24,000-square-feet of his own property to grow recreational marijuana commercially. Two years ago, a borough planner told him that he would be fine. His property is within the setback distance, but the adjacent property is claimed to be swampland and trees. Hannam also claims that his neighbors are marijuana-friendly farmers.
Hannam said, “The setback requirement really put a hindrance on me, my livelihood and my life. Abolish it and put the state’s (requirements) in its place.”
The High Expectation will also be permitted to operate in Talkeetna under the new regulations. Final approvals for this retailer should be started in April.