City of Kodiak’s Marijuana Advisory Committee Holds First Meeting

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The City of Kodiak’s Marijuana Advisory Committee held its first meeting last night and used the opportunity to talk about its role over the next six months. Councilman Randy Bishop and Councilwoman Laura Arboleda sit on the committee as city council representatives.

As Bishop said at the beginning of yesterday’s meeting, the committee’s job is to give recommendations to the city council and hand it over to the councilmembers from there. Arboleda also emphasized the committee’s role in outlining how marijuana business will be regulated rather than whether it should be.

“It’s gonna happen. It’s gonna happen in the city. So, what we’re trying to do is trying to figure out as a group how’s the best way to tax this thing, what’s a good way to regulate everything and the production and the sale and the use of marijuana within the city limits? It’s not deciding whether or not this is gonna happen or not, because it’s already there on the table.”

KPD Chief Ronda Wallace, who sits on the committee as a non-voting consulting member alongside the city manager and city clerk, stressed the legal side.

“We are under a microscopic. Federally, we still are under a microscopic, and we want to make sure that we get it right so that we don’t become – we aren’t set up for litigation and we don’t go that route, so I think the best thing for us is – for you guys, is to get us down the right road, and we’ll guide you.”

Like the Kodiak City Council, the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly also formed an advisory committee. The borough’s Marijuana Task Force shares a few members with the city’s advisory group: Arboleda, Bishop, Jonathan Strong as medical professional, and Janiese Stevens as retail business owner.

City Manager Aimée Kniaziowski helped clarify how the city of Kodiak’s decisions will fit alongside the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly’s regulations for marijuana business in the borough.

“We’re kind of working in tandem, but we’re independent units, so whatever happens in the city doesn’t affect the borough and vice versa as we understand it. So, they could take a position that wouldn’t be consistent necessarily with what this committee recommends and the council implements.”

The other citizen representatives on the committee, who sit only on the city’s advisory group, are Martin Barton and Glenn Yngve.

The Marijuana Advisory Committee decided that it would hold two meetings per month, and it would tackle a different issue at each. For instance, one meeting would focus on retail and another on testing.

The next meeting is set for July 11, and will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the city conference room, which was formerly the school district conference room.

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