City Marijuana Advisory Committee Plans Out Recommendations for Council: Zoning and Revenue

logo-w-sunburstKayla Desroches/KMXT

This week, the City Marijuana Advisory Committee planned out what recommendations it would make to the Kodiak City Council regarding marijuana regulation within city limits. One motion it considered was to allow limited cultivation licenses in rural residential lots 20,000 square feet or greater with a conditional use permit.

Committee member Jonathan Strong said he didn’t support commercial marijuana business within a residential neighborhood.

“You can be producing all kinds of marijuana. It’s not just maybe a small person in their house, which that’s legal to do anyways. But I just don’t think a residential neighborhood within city limits is an appropriate place to have a marijuana business under what would be considered a home-based business. I just don’t think it’s appropriate.”

He also said it might get backlash from residents who don’t want commercial marijuana businesses in their neighborhood. City co-chair Randy Bishop said they shouldn’t limit opportunity, and he said he didn’t think potential business owners would jump all over the available residential lots. It will take some time.

“There’s not many lots in the city limits that are 20,000 square feet. If they are, they have to go through a process of obtaining a conditional use permit. All neighbors would be notified, they would have a chance to speak out against it. And just like we had in our discussion last night, no community, no state has done this right the first time.”

He said the market will work itself out.

Bishop also clarified that the borough has full responsibility over the community development department, which dictates planning and zoning. That means the Borough Marijuana Task Force has final say about zoning issues.

The committee decided it would recommend allowing limited cultivation licenses for residential lots of 20,000 square feet or greater.

Another recommendation it considered was about taxing marijuana business and otherwise building revenue from the industry. Strong referred to how the marijuana business is being done elsewhere in the Lower 48 and Alaska.

“Fairbanks has an application fee that checks, makes sure it’s in the right area and all that stuff, because that takes staff time. So they’re charging $350 for a local application. They were charging $1,000 for a local licensing fee, but it wasn’t enough she said. She said it cost about $3,000.”

Strong proposed a $350 application fee, a $3,000 licensing fee, and a local excise tax of $50 an ounce. The committee decided to go with his motion to recommend a local marijuana entity application fee, a local marijuana entity licensing fee, and a local marijuana entity sales tax.

The marijuana committee is scheduled to meet with the city council in November.

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