National Public Radio image.

National Public Radio image.

On Monday night, the Ketchikan City Council decided to vote on the sale of retail marijuana at its next meeting.

The Council made this decision after hearing a presentation by Chris French, the Borough Planning and Community Development Director. During his presentation, French shared what the Borough and State have been doing with regards to commercial sales of marijuana. He says last Friday, the Marijuana Control Board made some changes and reauthorizations. French says one of the major changes is the allowance of consumption within marijuana retail establishments.

“This allowance would not supersede local laws, therefore local governments could prohibit the consumption within retail establishments. Marijuana clubs would still be considered illegal, however the ban that was listed in the initial code was removed, at the request of the Department of Law. Businesses must be owned and operated by Alaska residents, however one change was made to that. Instead of Alaska residents being defined as someone who’s eligible for the PFD, it was changed to someone who is registered to vote in the state of Alaska.”

He says the board will be looking at the residence requirements at its next meeting on December 1st, so those rules may change.

Council member Dave Kiffer asked French if specific products could be prohibited from retail sale.

“Local governments are not allowed to restrict what is sold within retail stores. Local governments can prohibit specific uses, so if you wanted to prohibit retail stores you could do that. If you wanted to prohibit all marijuana uses, you can do that. But you can’t pick edibles and say you can’t do it. You can’t pick concentrates and say you can’t sell those.”

French says personal use and purchase of marijuana accessories cannot be prohibited.

Mayor Lew Williams asked that a vote on retail marijuana businesses and sales be added to the December 3rd Council Meeting agenda.

“We’re going to, on the first meeting of December, decide if we are going to sell the product inside the city limits. And if it isn’t, then it’s over. If we vote to go ahead with it then we’ll, I imagine, move on with what borough planning has put together with the Borough and see what they come up with.”

French says the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly is scheduled to consider a vote on marijuana sales at its December 7th meeting.

Council member Julie Isom withdrew her request to change the start time of council meetings.  She says she had conflicts the last few meetings, but no longer feels a time change is necessary.

The Council also met in executive session to review a wireless network business plan. Under the plan, KPU Telecommunications would deploy a 4G/LTE wireless network and construct a microwave radio link between Ketchikan and Prince Rupert, British Columbia. No action was taken following the executive session.

The Ketchikan City Council is holding a budget session at 7:00 pm on Monday, November 30th. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Ketchikan City Council is December 3rd in Council Chambers. There will be time for public comment at the start of the meeting.