Petersburg’s borough assembly will form a new committee to consider how to regulate marijuana growing and sales in the community.
A ballot initiative approved by voters legalizes recreational pot on February 24th and allows municipalities to decide whether to allow marijuana sales and businesses. The state legislature is considering the issue this session and other boroughs and cities throughout Alaska are having the same discussion.
Mayor Mark Jensen has been prompting the discussion before the borough assembly. “Regardless of what anybody else does in the state, I think we’re the ones that need to draft what we want to happen in our own area, as much as we can, depending on state regulations as they get put forward to us,” Jensen said. Jensen has made the topic a regular discussion item for the borough assembly and elected officials have asked for public input.
Local resident Kevin Clark wanted to be proactive on the issue. “And I think the best way to do that would be to compose a sub-committee or committee that would be members of the public and members of the council, at least five people, at least two members of the council to actually sit down and discuss going forward and how we want to make sure the will of the people is followed through with,” Clark said.
Assembly members agreed and will be advertising for borough residents interested in participating in that new committee.
In related news, the assembly voted to postpone further action on a proposed property tax exemption for farm buildings in the borough. A draft ordinance passed in first reading last month likely would exempt buildings used for pot growing, along with food crops and livestock. Assembly members want to wait on decisions out of the legislature before advancing that tax exemption. The issue will ultimately be up to local voters.