Marijuana regulations take shape

  • Saturday, January 23, 2016 6:29pm
  • Opinion

It’s been a little more than a year since Alaskans voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use, and this past week, two government bodies came to decisions about how the substance should be regulated in our communities.

The Kenai City Council approved regulations governing marijuana businesses in the city, governing what types of businesses and operations will be allowed, and where they will be allowed to operate, and what types of permits will be required.

Likewise, the borough’s Marijuana Task Force made its recommendation to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on an ordinance addressing commercial marijuana.

Both bodies were faced with a difficult task in coming up with a reasonable set of rules to regulate something over which the community remains fairly divided. Views on marijuana run the gamut, from those who would continue to ban it altogether to those who are whole-heartedly behind its legalization, and quite likely, a large number of people whose opinions fall somewhere in between.

We have concerns about recreational drug use — not just marijuana, but alcohol, prescription drugs, and harder drugs, such as heroin, that have been finding their way into our community. There is a cost to the community when recreational use turns into substance abuse.

That said, our hope is that borough and city regulations are effective in keeping marijuana out of the hands of underage Alaskans, yet reasonable enough to provide opportunity and access for those legally allowed to grow, sell and use it. Let’s not be naive; for underage users, marijuana already can be easier to obtain than alcohol, but if there’s an increase in use among area teens, then regulations will need to be revisited.

And if regulations prove too burdensome for those looking to take part in the industry, that may need to be examined as well.

There appears to have been plenty of give and take in crafting regulations, and while it wasn’t always pretty, the final product has been the result of a good process. We’re pleased to see governing bodies be proactive in addressing a major change, and we hope our elected leaders continue to be proactive as we see the results or new regulations put into practice.

More in Opinion

A resident casts their vote in the regular municipal election Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Alaska Voices: Break the cycle of failure, debt in 2022

Today, all Americans are coerced, embarrassed or otherwise influenced into one of two old political parties

A sign designates a vote center during the recent municipal election. The center offered a spot for voters to drop off ballots or fill a ballot out in person. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: The failure of mail-in voting

The argument that mail-in balloting increases voter participation never impressed me

Charlie Franz.
Point of View: Election integrity is not anti-democratic

The federalization of elections by the Freedom to Vote Act infringes on the constitutional right of states to regulate elections.

Snow blows off Mt. Roberts high above the Thane avalanche chute, where an avalanche blew across the road during a major snowstorm. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
An Alaska winter of discontent

It’s been a hard winter throughout the state.

A Uncruise Adventures cruise ship, with a fleet of kayaks in the water behind it, in the Tongass National Forest. Uncruise, a boutique local cruise ship operator, has been vocal about the importance of the intact Tongass National Forest, or SeaBank, to its business. (Photo by Ben Hamilton/courtesy Salmon State)
Alaska Voices: The dividends paid by Southeast Alaska’s ‘Seabank’ are the state’s untold secrets

Southeast Alaska’s natural capital produces economic outputs from the seafood and visitor products industries worth several billion dollars a year

teaser
Opinion: The pulse of fealty

Let’s be honest. Trump’s demands go beyond his one stated condition.

Former Gov. Frank Murkowski speaks on a range of subjects during an interview with the Juneau Empire in May 2019. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Alaska Voices: Permanent fund integrity in peril?

Alaskans need to be kept informed of what the trustees are doing with their money.

A cast member holds up a cue card in Soldotna High School’s production of "Annie" on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: Is theater dead?

“It will not be an easy task, performing CPR on this theater, but imagine the joy that you could bring to the students.”

Bjørn Olson (Photo provided)
Point of View: Homer Drawdown moves forward with climate-change solutions

Two years ago, a small group of concerned citizens decided to use this book as a guiding document

A “Vote Here” sign is seen at the City of Kenai building on Monday, Sept. 21 in Kenai, Alaska.
Voices of the Peninsula: Fight for democracy

When the Insurrection occurred on Jan. 6, 2021, it was a direct attack on our democratic rule of law.

Former Alaska legislator and gubernatorial candidate Les Gara is seen in this undated photo. (courtesy photo)
Alaska’s great oil giveway

We can do better than giving away billions in oil company subsidies