Soldotna hopes to clarify city’s marijuana laws

  • By IAN FOLEY
  • Thursday, February 12, 2015 10:06pm
  • News

With the impending statewide legalization of marijuana for personal use, the city of Soldotna is hoping to clarify some city laws.

At Wednesday’s Soldotna City Council meeting, two ordinances were introduced — one which would detail where marijuana can’t be consumed, and another which would amend the definition of “smoking” to include e-cigarettes, vaporizer cigarettes, and marijuana.

Ordinance 2015-004 would outlaw the use of marijuana in public and in motorized vehicles, including motor vehicles, watercraft and aircraft.

The ordinance defines “marijuana” to include all parts of the cannabis plant, as well as seeds, resin, compounds, salts, derivatives, concentrates or any other mixture.

The ordinance defines “in public” to mean “in or upon any government-owned property, as well as any place that the public or a substantial group of persons has access.”

If passed, a $100 fine would be issued for a first violation of marijuana use in public, $500 for a second, and mandatory court appearance for a third offense.

The same fine schedule applies for permitting prohibited marijuana use.

Soldotna council member Keith Baxter said the ordinance to ban marijuana use in public and in motor vehicles is in line with how the state regulates alcohol.

“I feel like this ordinance is completely in the spirit of the statewide initiative that passed, which is to regulate marijuana like alcohol, and you can’t drink alcohol in public or in cars — that’s the spirit of this ordinance.”

Soldotna resident Michele Holley said she had an issue with the ordinance, and advocated for more freedom regarding marijuana use.

“This is a miracle plant. My question to people is, do you think God got it right, or do you think some creepy politicians in 1937 got it right?” Holley said, referencing the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which imposed a tax on the sale of marijuana.

Aside from prohibiting marijuana in certain places, the ordinance would also designate the city council as the local regulatory authority.

Ordinance 2015-005 would amend the definition of smoking to include “the use of any vaporizer, electronic cigarette, or other device used to produce inhalable fumes or vapors from tobacco, marijuana, or herbal preparations.”

On Feb. 25, there will be a public meeting to discuss both ordinances.

Reach Ian Foley at ian.foley@peninsulaclarion.com.

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