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Voters Will Decide Legality of Fairbanks’ Marijuana Sales on Oct. 3

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Voters will decide whether marijuana sales in Fairbanks will be allowed or not in a municipal election on October 3. Proposition A is seeking to ban marijuana businesses in the city. Proposition 1 would ban them in the entire borough.

Alaska voters passed recreational marijuana legislation in 2014 and Fairbanks quickly became one of the most marijuana-friendly communities in the state, according to Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.  There are more than 12 active growers with more planning to start operations. Jim Ostlind and Vivian Stiver have both launched campaigns to put referendums (bans) on both city and borough ballots.

Ostlind has taken control of the Safe Neighborhoods Fairbanks Political Action Committee.

Ostlind said, “We’re doing what every political group does. We’re getting money for advertising and looking for volunteers to pass out literature. Basically, we’re looking around at what’s happening. We changed our name (formerly Drug Free Fairbanks) because it’s more appropriate for our campaign. It has to do with marijuana businesses being put in residential neighborhoods.”

The current zoning regulations put the commercial marijuana businesses too close to residential areas, according to Ostlind.

He said, “For a lot of people who live in those neighborhoods it’s a huge issue. I do need to emphasize. We’re being accused of trying to interfere with the individual right to use marijuana. We’re not trying to change that. Those individual rights won’t be affected at all. Where marijuana will be grown, manufactured and sold, that right was given to the municipalities. Proposition 1 and A give those people the right to exercise it.”

Advocating to keep legal marijuana businesses operating in Fairbanks is the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association. Greg Allison, heading the chapter also works with Keep Cannabis Legal Fairbanks Political Action Committee.

Allison said, “We’ve really prepared ourselves for this. I think Fairbanks is on the same page.”

The AMIA organization has helped with canned food drives to donate food to churches.

Allison said, “We’re not just a bunch of stoners. Get to know us. We’re good leaders who care about the community. It’s not a façade.”

Those supporting the legal marijuana industry in Fairbanks say that it’s more about what the financial impact the industry can have on the state, and Fairbanks, in a positive way.

Allison said, “The industry has shown positive growth through hard-working Alaskans and a significant economic impact. Our livelihoods are at stake, too.”

The only focus Ostlind has, according to him is, to keep marijuana businesses out of residential areas.