KIB Assembly and Kodiak City Council Share Status on Marijuana Commercialization

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly and Kodiak City Council met in a joint work session last night and marijuana was the first item they discussed. City Mayor Pat Branson said the city had scheduled its attorney, Holly Wells, to fly into Kodiak to speak to the council about marijuana laws, but bad weather has prevented her from landing. Wells is now set to present to the city in early April.

She has experience with marijuana regulation. Assemblyman Mel Stephens said that she and her firm have produced a detailed document about marijuana for the community of Homer.  

“You can find that online, but Holly told me she was preparing something similar specifically targeted at Kodiak, and I’m wondering if that has arrived yet and whether you can share that with us when it does.”

City Manager Aimée Kniaziowski said the city hasn’t received that document yet, but would be happy to share it. City staff also shared other supporting information it’s working on.  

Kniaziowski said she had met with the borough community development director and borough assessor several months ago and they’d realized, based on state regulations, that there would be limited places within city limits to locate marijuana businesses.

“So, thank them both for working with us to try and draw a map, because the state regulations are different for distance from the school than from some other entities, so that’ll be really helpful certainly for the city to decide if we get to the point where the decision is to allow it, then we’ll know exactly what we’re looking at.”

While the City Council has yet to meet about marijuana commercialization, the Borough Assembly has decided to assign a task-force to the issue. The task force will have a year to advise the assembly on whether to permit marijuana businesses in the borough.

Borough Mayor Jerrol Friend shared how that group might look.

“We have two borough assembly members, we’ve got two city council members – this is proposed, it’s not passed – we’ve got one medical professional, one law enforcement professional, one retail business owner – someone that’s looking to get into the business – one marijuana advocate, and three members at large.”

And while the borough’s decision on marijuana will apply only to the unincorporated areas, not to the villages or the city, Friend said they could include other island communities in the task force.

“As we look through this too, I mean, we don’t want to make the committee so big that it gets cumbersome, but I mean, when you go through it and you start thinking about it, we’d like to have some kind of village representation on there too. I mean, that was brought up. And there was a few other – education. But you can make these boards so big that they’re gonna be nonfunctional.”

The establishment of the task force is on the assembly’s agenda for its regular meeting tonight. That’ll be at 6:30 p.m. in the assembly chambers.

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