Petersburg Pilot -

Local marijuana committee to meet after state releases retail regs

 


Petersburg’s Local Marijuana Regulations Advisory Committee will meet in the coming months after the state released its regulations regarding the marijuana industry.

The local committee met twice since Alaska voters chose to legalize the consumption and sale of marijuana almost a year ago.

Committee Chair Jeigh Stanton Gregor said the committee decided to adopt a “wait and see” policy.

The state regulations address topics such as licensing fees, retail store, cultivation and manufacturing requirements among others. The state’s marijuana regulations are similar to those of alcohol regarding public consumption and distances retail outlets can be from schools and churches.

Stanton Gregor said the local committee has the option to recommend more stringent zoning requirements and how many permits the borough should issue.

“That’s left to us,” Stanton Gregor said. “How many retail outlets are we going to have? Those are more local decisions. How as a community are we going to decide that? The state doesn’t address things like that.”

The committee has made no official recommendations to the Petersburg Borough Assembly but there has been discussion on the ban of edibles, keeping a retail outlet at least one mile from Petersburg’s downtown or, similar to alcohol retailers, 500 feet from schools and churches and establishing a municipally owned dispensary.

Stanton Gregor said he plans to have another meeting in early December to continue the dialogue.

The marijuana regulation advisory committee isn’t the only group waiting and seeing. The Petersburg Police Department faces a similar position as it waits for the state to address the consequences regarding violations of marijuana laws.

Petersburg Police Chief Kelly Swihart said since marijuana legalization, he’s witnessed several violations but doesn’t know if it’s a criminal violation or an infraction because the state hasn’t provided guidelines.

“I have noticed a couple of violations, one was a local resident who had marijuana in plain view growing in the window,” Swihart said. “I’ve been in probably at least two, maybe three houses where marijuana was growing since the law changed that could be considered over the limit. I (reached out) to the district attorney asking for guidance and haven’t gotten a response.”

According to state law, a person can’t have marijuana growing in public view and an individual can’t grow more than six plants

Swihart said he talked with those who were in violation and the individuals complied with state regulations. He said until a state regulatory board provides guidance he’ll continue to wait and see.

“We haven’t seen really blatant violations,” Swihart said. “I still maintain that we should hold in place until they (the state) get all the particulars figured out.”

 

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