Ketchikan’s Marijuana Advisory Committee agreed last week to recommend draft ordinances regulating commercial marijuana activity within the borough.
The ordinances add buffer zones where marijuana businesses would be restricted. For example, the borough would have 200-foot buffers around residential areas.
That doesn’t mean marijuana businesses would be completely prohibited from operating within those buffers. They instead would have to apply for and receive a local conditional use permit, in addition to going through the state licensing process.
Speaking of which, Planning Director Chris French gave the local committee an update on proposed state regulations, which changed recently. For example, the state Marijuana Control Board wants 500-foot buffers around schools, churches and recreation facilities.
“They also, totally removed the restriction that a licensed establishment couldn’t be within a liquor licensed establishment or merely adjacent,” he said.
That means a bar now could apply for a license to also sell pot, or a pot shop could be next to a bar.
Removing that restriction opens up a little more of Ketchikan’s downtown than previously thought. Before, pretty much the whole downtown would be off-limits to marijuana businesses because of all the churches and bars.
Even with that recent change, though, as planner Richard Harney pointed out to committee members, much of the City of Ketchikan still will be restricted by buffer zones.
“The downtown area, for the most part, is pretty well buffered out,” he said. “There are very small areas, windows, where they would be allowed with a conditional use permit in the downtown. Right now, it would be the Ted Ferry Civic Center up on the hillside and some of Cape Fox, and then there are the Bayside Hotel, as well as the old KRBD building.”
The former KRBD building on Stedman Street now is a jazz bar.
Harney added that Creek Street is a historic district, and the district board would need to weigh in on whether it wants to allow marijuana businesses in that part of downtown.
The ordinances recommended Friday by the local Marijuana Advisory Committee for Borough Assembly consideration also would allow for local review of any marijuana license application; and would restrict hours of operation for marijuana businesses to between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.
The next MAC meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 9 in Borough Assembly chambers.