Pubdate: Thu, 21 Jul 2016
Source: Alaska Dispatch News (AK)
Copyright: 2016 Alaska Dispatch Publishing
Note: Anchorage Daily News until July '14
Author: Laurel Andrews


Fairbanks voters won't decide this year whether to ban commercial marijuana.

Sponsors of two petitions, one for the city of Fairbanks and the 
other for the Fairbanks North Star Borough, both missed their 
deadlines to put the question of banning commercial marijuana on the 
October ballot, saying they hadn't gathered enough signatures in time.

Both sponsors said they plan to continue collecting signatures to 
bring the question to voters in 2017.

Vivian Stiver, sponsor for the city of Fairbanks petition, said her 
group came about 170 signatures short of the 519 required by a July 
19 deadline. She said they began collecting signatures only three 
weeks before the deadline.

Earlier, a borough petition also failed to gather enough signatures 
for a July 8 deadline. Jim Ostlind, the petition sponsor who has 
started a group called Drug Free Fairbanks, said they needed 600 to 
700 more signatures to reach the required 1,994.

They too will continue gathering signatures until their next deadline 
in September, Ostlind said.

Sponsors of both petitions said rainy weather hindered their 
signature-collection efforts in early July.

"One of our biggest problems was a really nasty Fourth of July 
weekend .. so we were counting on that three-day weekend to get a lot 
of signatures and we didn't get very many," said Ostlind.

Should the groups collect the required signatures, the proposed bans 
would end up on the October 2017 ballot. By that time, marijuana 
retail stores will be up and running alongside growers and manufacturers.

"If at that point people are unhappy with (the industry), they'll 
have a way to deal with it," Ostlind said.

A third petition is still circulating in the city of North Pole, city 
clerk Kathy Weber said. Sponsors have until July 27 to get it on this 
year's ballot and needed only four more signatures when they turned 
in initial documents on Monday, she said.

About 100,000 people live within the Fairbanks North Star Borough. Of 
those, 30,000 live within Fairbanks city limits and 2,000 in North Pole.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom