Pubdate: Sat, 20 Dec 2014
Source: Alaska Dispatch News (AK)
Copyright: 2014 Alaska Dispatch Publishing
Note: Anchorage Daily News until July '14
Author: Suzanna Caldwell


The Anchorage Assembly has formed a committee whose sole focus is to 
consider the implementation of marijuana sales.

Assembly Chair Dick Traini announced Friday that the committee will 
look at regulation and taxation of the cultivation, manufacture and 
commercial sale of marijuana in Anchorage. Assemblyman Ernie Hall 
will chair the committee, which also includes Assembly members Pete 
Petersen, Amy Demboski and Paul Honeman.

It's the latest move by the city in response to Ballot Measure 2, the 
initiative that legalized recreational marijuana in Alaska. Creation 
of the committee comes days after the Assembly heard four hours of 
public testimony on an ordinance that would have banned commercial 
marijuana in the municipality. The measure, introduced by Demboski 
and co-sponsored by Honeman and Traini, was defeated 9-2.

Following public testimony on that proposal, members of the Assembly 
indicated they wanted a committee created to deal with marijuana.

Traini said the new committee will advise the Assembly on how to move 
forward with potential legislation.

"There's a lot of things we need to discuss ...," Traini said. "This 
is a whole new creature."

Hall said first up will be figuring out the city's role in the 
rulemaking process. The state has nine months to craft regulations 
after the initiative goes into effect Feb. 24. Currently, the state 
Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is tasked with writing those rules, 
though the Legislature has the authority to create a separate 
marijuana control board.

The Legislature also has the authority to amend the initiative, in 
effect giving further guidance to whichever board is in charge of 
writing regulations.

But the city will have its own responsibilities in dealing with 
marijuana, including how to deal with conditional-use permits in a 
manner similar to the way the city handles alcohol.

"We have to follow the regulations the way it's written but that 
doesn't mean we can't get more stringent," Hall said.

With at least a year before even the first marijuana business 
licenses could be applied for, Hall appeared confident in the work 
the city will do on the issue.

"We really have a lot of time here to do this and do it right," Hall 
said, "as well as learn from any mistakes that may have been made in 
Washington or Colorado and what we need to do to help deal with 
things they've seen as problems."

The first meeting of the committee is set for noon Dec. 23 at City 
Hall, Room 240.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom