A resolution encouraging the state Marijuana Control Board to allow pot smoking lounges is in front of the Ketchikan City Council on Thursday.
The state board voted last week in favor of drafting rules to allow smoking clubs. The draft rules aren’t expected to be ready for review until fall.
Ketchikan City Council Member Julie Isom requested that the local resolution be drafted and presented for a vote. She said there needs to be a space for people to safely consume cannabis, now that it’s legal in Alaska.
“I don’t believe the people made it legal so we could say, ‘Neener neener, there’s no place to smoke it, so we really meant no,’” she said.
“What really sparked it was the fact that I’m a landlord in this town and I don’t allow smoking in the two places that I rent,” she said. “I have a duplex and I don’t want them to be smoking in there.”
Isom said many other residents rent their homes, and many other landlords also prohibit smoking indoors. And unlike cigarettes, it’s illegal to smoke marijuana outside of private property.
Isom said tourists who want to consume pot are another concern. She said she visited one of the marijuana stores in town, and an older couple came in. The wife was clearly in pain.
“The gentleman went up to the counter and wanted to know if his wife could smoke inside there,” Isom said. “She was hurting. She needed it for medical reasons and they were like, ‘I’m sorry, no. You can’t. It’s not legal.’”
Isom said the store’s employee told her that he is asked about where people can legally smoke pot thousands of times every day.
Isom said she’d like to hear useful arguments from those who oppose allowing smoking lounges. She said so far, she’s only heard “I don’t like it,” which isn’t helpful now that pot is legal in Alaska.
There are two retail cannabis stores in Ketchikan, both in the downtown area. One, the Stoney Moose, has plans in place to offer a smoking lounge after state rules have been established.
Thursday’s Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. in City Council chambers. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.