City and Borough Marijuana Advisory Committees Give Update at Joint Work Session

logo-w-sunburstKayla Desroches/KMXT

The borough and city’s marijuana advisory committees are making progress in determining what the sale of marijuana will look like in their areas. Representatives on both boards gave updates at the Kodiak City Council and Kodiak Island Borough Assembly joint work session Wednesday night.

Then-assemblyman and borough mayor-elect Dan Rohrer is the co-chair on the Borough Marijuana Task Force and said the group has focused on cultivation, retail sales, and manufacturing.

He said Community Development Director Sara Mason will come speak to the task-force at its next meeting and address a couple of ongoing issues. One of them is cultivation and whether or not it should be allowed within residential districts via a conditional use permit or at all.

“And then the other issue that we’re gonna be discussing with her is specifically where should cultivation be allowed and again everybody’s in agreement that it shouldn’t be allowed in residential areas from a commercial growth point of view and everybody’s in agreement that it should be allowed in the industrial area, but the question becomes what do as far as business zoned lands are concerned?”

Rohrer said the task-force has also decided the borough should opt-out of edibles at this time.

“And not opting out of oils and hashes and things of that nature, but actually edibles until the state has had an opportunity to better define what meets the rules for edibles. Everybody on the committee has been heavily focused on the safety of kids and then how do we implement this without creating problems for neighbors?”

He said taxation will be a future agenda item. He later told KMXT that the borough does not have a sales tax like the city does, which means there could be many ways to tax the sale of marijuana. They could tax it per ounce or square footage of growth for instance. Rohrer said they don’t want to over-tax clients because that might drive people away from legitimate business owners and to the black market.

City councilwoman Laura Arboleda, who co-chairs the city’s Marijuana Advisory Committee and also sits on the Borough Marijuana Task Force as a city representative, said the city advisory commitee can’t determine the exact revenue the city will gather from taxation until the industry gets started. However, she said the committee consulted City Finance Director Kelly Mayes on the topic.

“According to what she had calculated, an estimated – if we were to tax marijuana sales tax revenue, recreational marijuana, it would bring us $18,431 for taxing marijuana within the city. So, that’s an average rate of $2.91 per person.”

Arboleda said, like the borough Task Force, the Marijuana Advisory Committee discussed which city districts would be appropriate for cultivation facilities.

“We had decided that it should just stay within city limits in industrial, light industrial, retail, business retail, and business zoning. Not in residential, we also agreed the city did that we would not approve of having residential cultivation facilities within the city.”

She said the Marijuana Advisory Committee will present a series of recommendations to the Kodiak City Council in November, and Rohrer said the Borough Marijuana Task-Force will do the same for the assembly in December.

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