Kenai City Council Members Henry Knackstedt, left, and Bob Molloy, right, listen to public comments during the Kenai City Council Meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai City Council Members Henry Knackstedt, left, and Bob Molloy, right, listen to public comments during the Kenai City Council Meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai City Council considers limiting hours of operation for marijuana retailers

The ordinance would prohibit businesses from operating between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m.

The Kenai City Council is considering an ordinance to restrict hours of operation for marijuana retail businesses in the city.

Ordinance 3088-2019, introduced to the council Sept. 18, would prohibit marijuana retail businesses from conducting business between the hours of 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. Currently, Alaska State Statutes and Adminstrative Codes prohibit marijuana businesses and bars from operating between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m.

During Wednesday night’s council meeting, two business owners spoke about the potential impacts that these proposed restrictions would have.

Ron Isaacs, owner of Majestic Gardens, voiced his opposition to the ordinance. Isaacs argued that by putting the restriction on marijuana retailers and not bars, the bars are given an unfair competitive advantage in the name of promoting public safety.

“We’ve never had the police called to our location,” Isaacs said on Wednesday night. “I don’t know how many calls each weekend the bars get, but I know the police have to make regular rounds.”

While Isaacs’ current business hours would not be impacted by the proposed ordinance, he has considered staying open later during the summer dipnetting season and doesn’t want to be preemptively barred from doing so.

Ryan Tunseth, owner of East Rip in Kenai, said he was wary of any legislation that could have a negative impact on the financial success of a business, but admitted the he does not see an economic benefit to being open during the hours in question.

“I will never be open at 2 a.m. I personally don’t see the need to and I really have no desire to,” Tunseth said Wednesday night.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough currently prohibits marijuana retailers from operating between 2 a.m. to 8 a.m., and in the city of Soldotna the prohibited hours are from 12 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Council members will vote on the ordinance Oct. 2, and should it be enacted the new hours of operation will go into effect 30 days later.

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