Pubdate: Thu, 29 Jan 2015
Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (AK)
Copyright: 2015 Fairbanks Publishing Company, Inc.
Author: Amanda Bohman


FAIRBANKS - Brandon Emmett, executive director of Citizens for 
Responsible Cannabis Legislation, held up a package that once held 
marijuana-laced cookies.

The black package with a red dot and white lettering required a knife 
or scissors in order to be opened, Emmett said.

"A child is not going to see this and say, 'Hey, there is candy in 
there,'" he told a roundtable of the heads of most of the major 
institutions in Fairbanks.

The group gathered Wednesday at the invitation of Fairbanks North 
Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins to begin discussing local marijuana 
regulations, such as if and where marijuana will be allowed to be 
grown, processed, packaged and sold.

Those at the table were top officials from local law enforcement, the 
military, the education sector, social services, business and elected 
office. Several said they voted against the statewide marijuana 
initiative approved by voters in November that puts in place 
more-permissive marijuana laws that take effect next month.

The new law gives local governments authority to control legal 
marijuana sales or to prohibit them.

"I think it's time that we be honest with ourselves," Emmett told the 
panel. "Weed is not something that lurks in the shadows."

The group Citizens for Responsible Cannabis Legislation is calling 
for the borough to allow properly packaged, low-dose marijuana 
edibles to be sold in the borough and for the borough to allow for 
the establishment of consumption facilities or places where people 
can use marijuana legally.

Marijuana edibles and marijuana parlors are two of the hot-button 
issues surrounding pot legislation.

Heidi Haas, president of the Fairbanks North Star Borough Board of 
Education, said she was one of many who expressed concern about 
marijuana and marijuana products trickling down into the hands of young people.

"This is going to have ripple effects back to our schools," she said. 
"How do we educate our families? How do we help the families in our 
community to understand the impacts?"

Victor Joseph, president of Tanana Chiefs Conference, said he too is 
worried about the social impacts if marijuana use increases in the 
community and that he wonders who will pay the price.

"Who is going to carry that burden?" Joseph said. "We have to make 
sure that it isn't put on the people."

Col. Sydney C. Zemp, garrison commander at Fort Wainwright, said 
marijuana will continue to be illegal on the military installation 
even though the state decriminalized it. He said federal employees, 
active duty and civilian, are prohibited from using marijuana.

"For all federal property, we all know marijuana still will be 
prohibited," Zemp said. "I think a public information campaign is 
going to be important."

The panel will also need to look closely at borough zoning, members agreed.

"I do not want a 2,000-plant marijuana factory next to my house," 
said Avery Thompson, an investigator with the Fairbanks Police Department.

Under the new law, marijuana use is prohibited in public. Many on the 
panel agreed that which places are public and which are not needs to 
be defined.

Hopkins, the borough mayor, said he has started to draft legislation 
to address where marijuana will be allowed to be used.

"We need to set out some parameters," he said. "It should be as much 
of a community effort as we can."

The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 13.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom