Pubdate: Wed, 27 Jul 2016
Source: Alaska Dispatch News (AK)
Copyright: 2016 Alaska Dispatch Publishing
Note: Anchorage Daily News until July '14
Author: Tegan Hanlon


The Anchorage Assembly approved the city's first commercial marijuana 
grow Tuesday night, a significant step forward for the developing 
legal cannabis industry.

"This whole green revolution, it starts here tonight with the City of 
Anchorage," said Assemblyman Dick Traini who voted to approve the 
local marijuana license and special-use permit for Dream Green Farms 
and to refer the application for a second proposed commercial 
marijuana grow, Arctic Herbery, to an Assembly committee for 
additional review after a flurry of late-night debate.

"The concern is all these little details and we're going to have to 
work them out," Assemblyman Tim Steele told Arctic Herbery owner 
Bryant Thorp during the meeting. "We're not picking on you, it's a 
new process."

Tuesday marked the first time the Assembly held public hearings for 
proposed cultivation facilities after Alaskans voted to legalize 
recreational marijuana in November 2014.

In an effort to further structure the city's approval process, the 
Assembly also voted Tuesday night to send all future marijuana 
applications to its Community and Economic Development Committee 
before it took public testimony.

This did not apply to Dream Green Farms.

Anchorage's first approved marijuana grow

In a 10-0 vote, Assembly members approved the local license and 
permit for Dream Green Farms, at 2939 Porcupine Drive in Mountain 
View. Assemblyman Patrick Flynn was excused from the meeting because 
he is an investor in a proposed marijuana cultivation business that 
has an application in with the state, he said.

During the meeting, Assemblymembers praised Dream Green Farms' 
application that they said created a high standard for those to follow.

"I don't know how to put this other than this application right here 
should be the standard by which all others are measured - period," 
said Assemblywoman Amy Demboski. "No offense to those that are coming 
behind it but this is like 'A' work and this is exactly what we're 
looking for."

Dream Green Farms co-owner Justin Roland said in an interview before 
the vote that a lot of work had gone into the application and if the 
business received municipal approval, major construction on a vacant 
warehouse would start immediately.

"It's going to be as fast as we possibly can," Roland said.

He anticipated that the business would have its first product on the 
market in December. Dream Green Farms can sell marijuana to another 
cultivator or a retail store, however it cannot sell it to individuals.

Roland said applying for a retail license was "down the road."

A second vote postponed

In a following 9-1 vote, the Assembly referred the local marijuana 
license and special-use permit for Arctic Herbery, located at 7107 
Arctic Boulevard, near the West 71st Avenue intersection, to the 
Assembly Community and Economic Development Committee.

"The location is completely different and I think there is going to 
be a potential issue with some of the neighbors and I think the 
reponsible thing to do is to evaluate that - period," Demboski said.

Thorp's proposed business is in an industrial zone, but Demboski said 
she worried about residential homes on the other side of Arctic Boulevard.

Thorp declined to comment on the Assembly's vote after its meeting. 
However, he told the Assembly that he felt that most of their 
questions revolved around his future plans for a retail store. (Thorp 
was the first to apply for a separate cannabis retail store license 
in Anchorage, which would likely not go in front of the Assembly 
until the fall if the city finds his application complete).

"We're talking about my cultivation license," Thorp told the Assembly.

Assemblyman Pete Petersen cast the only vote against sending Thorp's 
application to committee.

"I think we're sending this to committee to try to kill it," he said. 
He said the Assembly cannot expect people to spend "thousands and 
thousands" of dollars on an attorney to help them write their applications.

Both Arctic Herbery and Roland's Dream Green Farms have already 
received approval from Alaska's Marijuana Control Board in June. Once 
open, the businesses could grow as many square feet of marijuana as 
their warehouses allow.

Assemblyman John Weddleton chairs the Community and Economic 
Development Committee and said it will hold a meeting on Thorp's 
application before Aug. 9, when the Assembly has its next meeting and 
will take up Arctic Herbery again.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom