MarijuanaThe Ketchikan City Council on Thursday approved a marijuana cultivation permit application contingent upon satisfactory review by the City Fire Marshall. The motion was approved 6-1 with City Council Member Dick Coose voting against approval.

The application was submitted by Jason Kolanko, who hopes to open Rainforest Cannabis Cultivation on the third floor of a warehouse on Rex Allen Drive, an area zoned for industrial use.  One challenge for marijuana businesses is testing samples. State and local regulations require testing, but because it is an illegal substance under federal law there are questions about whether samples can legally be transported on a common carrier. City Mayor Lew Williams III says Kolanko spoke to the council about an option.

“He’s talking with Alaska Airlines, and I guess Alaska Airlines does this in other areas, where they’ll allow transportation of one ounce. I guess that’s all you need for testing. I didn’t know myself what testing included. And maybe be able to send it out, get it tested, and then be able to see it to a retailer.”

Williams says Kolanko still needs state permits and must prepare a comprehensive plan for his facility, among other steps, before final approval.

In first reading, the council approved an ordinance that would allow Ketchikan Public Utilities’ customers more options when purchasing phone and internet plans. Under the ordinance, customers with KPU phone and internet could buy an unlimited data plan without having to purchase a TV package.

“Cable is under a lot of completion from Netflix and all these other things. They have to come up with new things to draw customers and keep customers.”

The ordinance comes back for a second reading at the next regular City Council meeting.

Also on Thursday night, the City Council unanimously approved a $1.4 million budget transfer to the Ketchikan Public Utilities Water Division to pay for water pipe improvements on Mill Street. The money comes from voter-approved bonds.  The council approved a variance allowing BAM LLC to work on the Mill Street project after 10 pm. The company plans to do most of the work during normal business hours, but will perform some work at night or in the early morning hours to minimize disruptions to the public and traffic.

Williams says the council also recognized Water Division Manager John Kleinegger for 30 years of service.

“The scary thing is that he started in 1986 and I got on the City Council in the fall of 1987. Might be good for me to retire soon.”

Kleinegger is not retiring. Williams says the council just wanted to acknowledge his years of service.

The next regular meeting of the Ketchikan City Council is July 21st. The meeting begins at 7 pm in City Hall. Public comment will be allowed at the beginning of the meeting.