Ketchikan’s ad hoc Marijuana Advisory Committee continued discussing issues related to regulating a retail marijuana industry in the community during its regular meeting Monday evening.
Among the topics discussed was whether to allow small home-based businesses, in hopes of avoiding a black or “gray” market.
Borough Planning Director Chris French says if someone did want to start a small home-grow business, there are some limits already in borough code.
For example, any home-based business can’t use more than 30 percent of the space in a residence.
“You certainly couldn’t do any retail sales out of it, because that’s prohibited as a home occupation. So, you’re really limiting it to primarily a cultivation facility. For example, you wouldn’t be able to get a license through the state, most likely, to do any manufacturing there, just because of the type of equipment you’d have to have.”
French notes that enforcing a permit process for home-based retail grow operations could be challenging, because they’d look similar to personal-use grow ops.
Committee Chairman Glenn Thompson says he’d like to look into the idea further. He says the main point is to keep it away from kids, as much as possible.
“Officially, you can say we’re not going to have home occupations, but the practicality is, if you have grow-operations in someone’s home, and somebody has some extra and says, ‘here, give me 10 bucks,” that’s just simply going to happen. My whole take on this from the start has been, we want to eliminate the black market as much as possible.”
The committee also talked about the possibility of a government-owned marijuana retail store. However, committee members were concerned about potential repercussions for local government, because marijuana remains illegal on the federal level.
The committee didn’t make any decisions Monday. Members say they want to get a better idea of the regulations that the state comes up with before deciding what to do on a local level.
Alaskan voters decided last fall to legalize marijuana. It’s been legal for personal use since February, and state officials are working on how to regulate commercial operations.
Local governments can enact their own regulations, as long as they’re not less stringent than what the state establishes.
Planning Director French told the committee that the next set of proposed state regulations will be out for review before the committee’s next meeting, which is 5:30 p.m. July 27.