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By Dan Rudy 

Assembly to mull cannabis options

 


The Wrangell Borough Assembly will hold a public work session on marijuana at City Hall before its regularly scheduled meeting on April 12.

Clerk Kim Lane explained the 6 p.m. session will help the Assembly’s members get up to speed on current regulations, as well as where local zoning will allow for the various types of retail and production

“They’re just trying to – since there are a few people interested already – they want to make sure they know what they’re doing before the state sends those applications back,” she said.

Last month the Marijuana Control Board (MCB) began accepting applications for licenses, including three from one Wrangell business owner. Kelsey Martinsen and his wife Sarinee Nuamnui applied for licenses for retail, cultivation and concentrate manufacturing. Called Happy Cannabis, the proposed business would be located behind the Diamond C in the former motel.

Applications must be publicly noticed and are returned to local governments for review after being received by the MCB. The Assembly would have a right to protest or approve a license within 60 days of receipt, and their decisions are in turn reviewed by the MCB before final action is taken. If approved, once the applications are processed and fees paid, the new business could legally begin its operations within a tightly regulated framework.

Other community members expressed interest in obtaining licenses, and Lane pointed out the workshop will be open to the public.

“We’d love for them to come,” she said.

The meeting will be one of several planned forums for community members to ask questions or voice concerns. Though workshops normally do not have agendas to follow, Lane explained one will be prepared for the coming meeting due to the potentially complex nature of its subject.

Any marijuana-related business cannot be located within 500 feet of schools or churches and must be compliant with zoning restrictions. Meeting last month, Wrangell’s Planning and Zoning Commission examined current ordinances and determined retail and wholesale operations would be allowable at commercially zoned properties. Growing operations, on the other hand, would need to obtain conditional use permits to operate in commercial, rural residential or industrial properties.

At the workshop, the Assembly will also discuss its options to additionally tax marijuana, as well as tobacco and alcohol.

 

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