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Soldotna extends ban on cannabis businesses

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  On Wednesday night the Soldotna City Council voted to tack on another 45 days to the city’s prohibition against all things cannabis related.

“Basically what’s happening is we’re trying to figure out what do with marijuana in the city. And this allows us to buy a little bit more time before we have to make a decision,” said Mayor Nels Anderson. “Okay, are there any council comments? Seeing none, can we have the vote, please?”

The motion passed unanimously. The council in September voted to sunset the city’s cannabis business moratorium at the end of the year. It bans the growing, processing and sale within city limits.

Before the council voted, acting City Manager Stephanie Queen explained why she was seeking more time from the council.

“We brought this ordinance forward when we looked at the schedules and really charted out the timeline that we thought would be necessary to put in place both the zoning regulations and the additional general regulations for the council to consider in regards to marijuana businesses,” she said. “It’s really meant as a safety net for potential business owners so that they have a clear understanding of all the regulations before they invest in locations, for example, that may be subsequently deemed inviable based on the regulations the city puts in place.”

Queen said there was an urgency to the request, as the State of Alaska is already processing permit applications from companies wanting to do business in Soldotna.

“The State Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office is starting to allow folks to start that process. It’s a several months long process,” Queen said. “But knowing that potentially folks are going to be seeing to making these kinds of decisions, at least this extra 45 days should get us through mid February which should be sufficient to bring forth a set of ordinances for your consideration and have those adopted in time to have the moratorium, if extended, to run out.”

Though the Soldotna City Council voted unanimously to extend the ban without any discussion, it was an item during their work session earlier in the day.

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