Kenai P&Z has good news/bad news for cannabis shoppers

Aug 16, 2019

At its meeting Wednesday night, the Kenai Planning and Zoning Commission took action that could both expand and restrict cannabis-buying opportunities in Kenai, if the city council agrees.
One resolution for a new retail shop was approved by the commission. The application was made by ACG LLC, the company that owns Red Run Cannabis, the city’s first retail cannabis store. The new store will be on the other end of town in the C Plaza subdivision, in the former Moose Lodge building. ACG already utilizes the building in the manufacture of cannabis products, though it no longer uses it for cultivation.
The other resolution passed by the commission was a recommendation to shorten the hours cannabis retail stores may operate. Currently, the city allows stores to open from 8 a.m. to 5 a.m., the maximum allowed by the state. The new recommended closing time is 2 a.m.
“In the sense that we wanted to have continuity with the borough, I agree with that understanding that what our city operating hours would match the borough, so that we don't offer any undue competition, I guess,” said Commission Co-Chair Diane Fikes. “That’s the way I would look at that.”
City Planner Elizabeth Appleby said in conversation with the four cannabis stores in town, most were fine with an earlier closing time.
“I did hear from one operator who did want to stay open until 2 a.m.,” said Appleby. “My rationale was I guess if the borough includes Nikiski, I thought to protect from competition I would put it out there as between 2 and 8 a.m. as my current recommendation.”
Commissioner Joe Halstead said he supported the reduction in open hours, but figures store owners will also be guided by profitability.
“My biggest concern was not so much to keep stores closed but to, I guess prevent someone getting out of control with it,” Halstead said. “I think being able to police yourself and know that your midnight is, is obviously going to be a cutoff time where you're at diminishing returns, it's going to be less cost effective to keep your doors open."
The P-and-Z passed the new resolutions on to the Kenai City Council, which will likely take them up at its first September meeting.