Pubdate: Wed, 18 Feb 2015
Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (AK)
Copyright: 2015 Fairbanks Publishing Company, Inc.
Author: Amanda Bohman


NORTH POLE - The City Council approved an ordinance allowing outdoor 
marijuana use on private property, even if it's in public view, so 
long as it's not a nuisance.

The panel voted 6-1 in favor of the ordinance by Mayor Bryce Ward, 
which set a $100 civil fine for consuming marijuana at a public 
place. Councilman Thomas McGhee was the "no" vote.

New state laws allowing people to carry, trade and consume marijuana 
more freely go into effect on Feb. 24. Public consumption remains prohibited.

What is a public place? In North Pole, the council defined it as 
streets, highways, sidewalks, alleys, transportation facilities, 
parking lots, convention centers, sports arenas, schools, places of 
business or amusement, shopping centers, malls, parks, playgrounds 
and prisons, plus hallways, lobbies and doorways at hotels and 
apartment buildings.

"When people voted for this, they voted that marijuana would be 
regulated like alcohol. Well, alcohol is regulated," Councilwoman 
Elizabeth Holm said.

North Pole is the first municipality in the Fairbanks North Star 
Borough to make a local law addressing marijuana since the voters 
decriminalized pot last November.

Separate ordinances are coming before the City Council in Fairbanks 
and the Borough Assembly next week.

An ordinance prohibiting the use of flammables to extract marijuana 
oils was approved by the North Pole council without debate or objection.

That measure sets a $1,500 fine for using a flammable substance, such 
as butane, to extract oils from the marijuana plant.

Hash oil extraction using butane is blamed for an explosion at a 
North Pole home on Dec. 8.

The measure dealing with where people can use marijuana drew the most 

One person, Don Penrod, spoke during public testimony. He suggested 
that the council define nuisance.

The nuisance clause states that "a person who consumes marijuana must 
take reasonable precautions to ensure consumption is not a nuisance 
to neighboring properties."

"It's very open to interpretation," Penrod said.

Councilman Thomas McGhee proposed an amendment removing the nuisance 
clause and removing businesses from the definition of public place.

McGhee complained the nuisance clause is too vague. And he pointed 
out that businesses are private entities.

"We are adding an additional bureaucracy to businesses," McGhee said.

The amendment failed.

"Businesses in general is what I think of as where the public comes 
in and does its business," Councilwoman Sharron Hunter said. "It's 
part of what I think of as a public space."

"If we took it out," she said, "it would probably mean that every 
business that didn't want marijuana would have to post it."

Councilwoman Elizabeth Holm proposed another amendment defining 
nuisance as dealing with sights and odors.

That amendment also failed after a councilman read an email from the 
city's attorney essentially stating that people do not forfeit their 
privacy rights on their private property because they live on a busy 
street or have a large picture window.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom