Marijuana Industry Sees Slow Start in Kodiak Island Borough


Marijuana. Image Courtesy of Brett Levin / Flickr

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak Island Borough finalized regulations for the island’s commercial marijuana industry in April, but no businesses have sprung up yet.

The new code outlines what cultivation, testing, and commercial sale would look within the borough, and it was the product of months of work from the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly, an advisory committee, and staff.

Community development director Sara Mason says the borough hasn’t heard much since April.

“We know that maybe a half dozen or so businesses have submitted applications to the state marijuana control board for a marijuana business license, but we have yet to have anybody come to the borough for a borough marijuana business license or a zoning compliance permit to get started and do all the site work and building prep for their business.”

The City of Kodiak also established a marijuana advisory committee to help the city council form its regulations. However, the council hasn’t finalized those regulations yet. A work session is scheduled for June 27 to discuss them.

One entrepreneur, Janiese Stevens, joined both the borough and city marijuana advisory committees. She’d originally pinpointed a piece of land to establish a cultivation facility, but that property later turned out to be against the new borough regulations.

“The borough, who is in charge of planning and zoning, did a little different of a measurement. Instead of a pathway, they did kind of as the crow flies, and so the location that I had is close to – in local ordinance terms – to a school.”

Under the borough code, there must be a minimum of 500 feet in a straight line between the edge of the school property and the entrance of the marijuana facility. That is consistent with state law.

Stevens says she’s scoping out another location for the facility. She says there’s a market for Kodiak-grown marijuana.

“I have reached out. There are people who have expressed interest. No one has taken that definitive step yet, but I think that there’s interest between myself and others in the community that will see this industry in Kodiak.”

Stevens says she also imagines selling to commercial businesses off-island.

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