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Mayor breaks tie in Soldotna cannabis vote; Moratorium expires Dec. 31

After about an hour of testimony and debate, the Soldotna City Council took its final vote on an ordinance that would permanently ban the sale or cultivation of cannabis inside city limits.

Councilmembers Tim Cashman, Linda Murphy and Paul Whitney voted in favor of the permanent ban, while Councilmembers Lisa Parker, Regina Daniels and Tyson Cox voted against.

"We have three yes votes and three no votes," said City Clerk Shellie Saner.

"Alright, thank you madam clerk," Mayor Pete Sprague said. "So, in that case, I, as the mayor, do vote."

After saying that the cannabis economy is here to stay and that prohibition does not work, Sprague cast his vote against making the city's moratorium permanent, to the beginnings of applause from the audience.

"No, please. This is not entertainment here tonight. Thank you," he said. "And with that, Ordinance 2017-25 has been defeated. With that, there will be a lot more work to do."

With the tie-breaker, the current moratorium on cannabis businesses inside Soldotna city limits will end  Dec. 31.

Before the final vote, the ordinance was amended to "grandfather in" any existing cannabis businesses currently outside city limits, if they were later included in any annexation the city conducts. That amendment, by Councilwoman Parker, passed five to one, with Councilman Whitney the lone dissenting vote.

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