Despite high prices and foreseeable hurdles, the Municipality of Skagway has decided to allow commercial mari- juana sales in the borough.
to jump through, and it’s not going to be inexpensive, but that’s not our prob- lem. That’s not a concern for us,” he said. “There’s a market out there and certainly a demand for it. There’s mon- ey to be made.”
“If we did opt out, we would have a petition the next day that had enough signatures [to overrule it.] It’s moot,” he said.
A work session on Oct. 29 saw a full house of voices in support of the new business venture.
Cochran pointed out that patrons will buy the product and not be able to use it, as they can’t smoke in the stores or in public. They can’t take it on the fer- ry, on a cruise ship, in a plane, or across the border.
It is now up to the assembly to deter- mine how many licenses they want to allow, if they want to cap the amount at all, the zoning and taxing. Currently, the cost for a business license in Skag- way is $10. Whether or not that will change is up to the assembly.
“I’m not a recreational drug user my- self, but I did vote in support of it,” Jim Sager said. “I think that it’s a require- ment of the community to provide a le- gal means for people to obtain a newly legalized substance so we can do away with the back alley shenanigans.”
“People who come to visit will need to have a place to smoke it or use it. I don’t think that was the intent of the voters,” Cochran said. “The intent was to allow people to smoke in their home and not have 50 people gathering.”
Assemblyman Spencer Morgan said he would like to see what other com- munities in Southeast have done.
Sager urged the municipality not to opt out, but also said they should con- sider allowing only a certain number of licenses, and holding a lottery to dish them out.
Henry noted that patrons of the li- quor store aren’t allowed to have open containers, but that doesn’t stop them.
“I’d be interested to see what may have come out of Ketchikan or Sitka who are dealing with cruise ship pas- sengers that are also landlocked. If there are other communities that have addressed this, I’d be open to listening to it,” he said.
Valerie Zimbrich echoed similar sen- timents, saying she would like to see a viable market available for people who don’t want to become addicted to med- ication.
Jay McClendon agreed that the is- sues were similar.
The most obvious obstacle retailers will have to overcome is the cost. The retailer’s license alone is $5,000. But to open a facility, there must first be a marijuana cultivation facility, which also has a licensing fee of $5,000. A testing facility must also be in place, tacking on another $1,000 fee.
“You aren’t asking them, ‘Where are you going to drink that?’’ he said. “You’re selling it to an adult. It’s their responsibility to follow the law. It’s not your job to babysit them.”
Borough Clerk Emily Deach said they haven’t gone far, and most are currently in the process of drafting or- dinances.
“It’s about $20,000 to do something locally here,” Assemblyman Tim Co- chran said.
“The obvious, overwhelming major- ity that voted yes would say to me that we need to drudge along through this, with what appears to be a very labori- ous process,” Henry said.
“It’s new to all of us,” Mayor Mark Schaefer said. “We did have over- whelming support for it in this commu- nity.”
But Assemblyman Dan Henry said it doesn’t matter if the cost were $20
“There’s going to be a lot of hoops
Assemblyman Steve Burnham Jr. agreed, saying there is no reason they should even discuss the option of opt- ing out.
Questions arose, like whether you can smoke it in an RV or an apartment. But the obvious conclusion remained – the vast majority of the public voted in favor of legalizing marijuana.
Assemblywoman Angela Grieser suggested that the assembly split the issues into subcommittees in order to expedite the process.