Marijuana

The Kodiak City Council on Thursday approved the first readings of the city’s first two ordinances aimed at regulating marijuana businesses. 

The first ordinance would designate the city as the local regulatory authority for marijuana, which City Manager Mike Tvenge said will ensure Kodiak receives funds from license application fees.

The second ordinance will prohibit extraction of tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly referred to as THC, or any cannaboid with methods or materials “deemed dangerous to public health and safety, unless otherwise permitted by law.”

Both ordinances were advanced to second reading at the next regular meeting. 

According to city councilor Randy Bishop, additional marijuana regulations are on hold until the city chooses a law firm. Legal representation will likely be selected in October, said Mayor Pat Branson at a Wednesday city and borough joint work session. 

At the joint work session, Kodiak Island Borough Assembly member Larry LeDoux asked city councilors their stance on edible marijuana products. 

Bishop said the city has decided to have a moratorium on edibles for one year and reconsider at that point. Edibles can make up 60 to 80 percent of revenue for marijuana businesses, he said. 

“I suspect there will be a lot of public testimony on this area and I just want to make sure the public understands what you’re doing,” LeDoux said, adding that the school district would likely have to prohibit homemade foods from coming into schools.  

City councilor John Whiddon said allowing sales of edibles after the moratorium ends is not set in stone. 

“We’re very, very concerned about that, but also there was a strong case made that the industry would struggle to survive without it, which is potentially a fact. How relevant it is is not is really not … my concern as much as having those edibles in the hands of somebody under 21 years old,” he said. “So I think when it does come back up for review, it’s going to be looked at in a very cautious measure. I don’t think it’s going to be something we’re just going to pass as a matter of course.”

The borough passed its own regulations on the marijuana industry. However, KIB Manager Michael Powers said they have only received two inquiries and have received no applications for marijuana businesses. 

Most are concerned about starting a business because there is not yet an on-island testing facility in the works, he said. State law requires marijuana be tested in a licensed facility.   

In other business, the city council:

– approved a contract change order in the amount of $250,000 for installation of a wastewater bypass at lift station three

– authorized spending $41,600 on new “Jaws of Life” equipment for the Kodiak Fire Department

– authorized formation of an economic development committee with membership numbers to be determined by the council. Council also approved committee membership, which will be Branson, Bishop and Whiddon, along with members from the community, Alan Austerman, Barbara Bigelow, Julie Bonney, Trevor Brown, Tyler Kornelis, Chris Lynch and Aimee Williams. Whiddon will serve as chair and Bishop will be vice chair. Rebecca Skinner and Daniel McKenna-Foster will serve as alternates.

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