Kenai Peninsula Borough Considers Letting Voters Decide Fate of Commercial Marijuana

Apr 5, 2016

Credit Courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly members may introduce an ordinance at their regular meeting Tuesday evening that calls for a borough-wide vote on whether to ban commercial marijuana within the borough.

Assembly members will hear public testimony on the ordinance and hold a vote to introduce it. The ordinance is sponsored by Assembly President, Blaine Gilman.

Gilman said in a written statement that he proposed the ordinance because numerous members of the public have asked for a ban of commercial marijuana.  

He acknowledged the assembly could legally pass a ban, but he thought the question should go to the voters.

South Peninsula Assembly Member Willy Dunne says the ordinance came as a surprise because the assembly has been working on adopting commercial regulations since the statewide vote to legalize marijuana in 2014.

“The borough has adopted regulations to allow commercial marijuana establishments so I’m a little bit surprised that we’re looking at an option for the voters to ban commercial marijuana in the borough,” said Dunne.

Under the ordinance, voters would decide whether to ban all four marijuana license types -- growers, retail stores, manufacturers and testing facilities -- in the borough.

Kenai Peninsula cities, including Homer and Kenai, would not be affected by the ban. Soldotna’s city council has already banned commercial marijuana through January 2018.

If the ordinance is introduced, there will be another public hearing and vote on May 3rd. Then if the assembly adopts the ordinance there will be a borough-wide vote held in October.