On Friday, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board approved applications for two marijuana licenses in the Ketchikan area. The two businesses are JWS Enterprises, owned by James Strassburg; and Cannabis Corner, owned by Kanoe and Ayme Zantua.
A cultivation license was approved for JWS Enterprises. The facility would be located on Gravina Island. The Marijuana Control Office did not receive any objections for that application.
One objection was received for Cannabis Corner, a retail pot store to be located on Mud Bay Road off of North Tongass Highway. The objection is from Cathie Ames, writing on behalf of her 84-year-old mother, Charlotte Ames. The letter states that the license applicants are related to the owner of a gift shop adjacent to the proposed site. One concern is that the gift shop will promote the marijuana retail store.
Tour buses drive up Mud Bay Road as they exit Totem Bight State Historical Park. Another concern Ames expressed is the image a marijuana store would create for the park and area. She also questions whether controls are in place to prevent tourists from bringing marijuana aboard ships.
The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly will have an opportunity to protest the licenses at its November 7th meeting. Borough Clerk Kacie Paxton says there are certain conditions under which a protest can be made.
“According to our code, the Assembly can recommend a protest based on planning and zoning issues, finance issues – for instance, if an applicant was behind in their tax or any other financial debt, and then also code enforcement regarding solid waste – if there were any citations or concerns regarding the solid waste of the two businesses. In addition to that, other law enforcement concerns.”
Paxton says three borough departments conducted an independent review based on code, and a request was sent to the Alaska State Troopers on whether or not a protest is recommended based on law enforcement actions.
“This is the first time that the borough has processed an application review for a marijuana license. From the staff review, there is not a recommendation of protest, but the Assembly could ask for additional information or there could be other questions. And we have not heard back from the troopers yet.”
The two businesses already have zoning permits and conditional use permits through the Borough Planning Department and Planning Commission.
Paxton says the borough has not yet received the notices of application approval from the state. Once those notices are received, Paxton says the borough has up to 60 days to protest.