FAIRBANKS — A limit on the number of allowable marijuana retail stores and an onsite consumption ban are two elements of a proposed ordinance creating marijuana regulations in the city of Fairbanks.
The ordinance proposes six new pages of Fairbanks General Code dealing with marijuana establishments and licensing, and is up for second reading, public comment and a likely vote at Monday’s council meeting.
If the ordinance passes without amendments, the number of retail stores will be capped at 12, and onsite consumption will be outlawed, regardless of state law.
At a Feb. 5 council meeting, ordinance sponsor Mayor Jim Matherly said the limit of 12 retail stores was not chosen for any particular reason. “There’s no magic formula for the number 12, at all. I just threw that number there knowing we’d be discussing it,” he said.
Fairbanks has five operating licensed retail stores. Four licenses have been considered by the council and are waiting on a certificate of occupancy before opening. One licensee is appealing a decision by the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office .
In addition to the nine retail stores either operating or close to operating inside city limits, another 10 retail license applications have been initiated or are under review by AMCO. They have not reached local government.
If the council approves the 12-store limit, it’s unclear what will happen to the remaining applicants that haven’t reached local government. Fairbanks City Clerk Danyielle Sinder’s interpretation, based on ordinance language, is that no more will be allowed.
“The council hasn’t really addressed that yet,” she said via telephone. At the council’s request, Snider has compiled info on pending licenses.
“I think the council has some work left to do,” she said.
Two drafts of the ordinance will be discussed Monday, with buffer zones being the main difference. One sets certain buffer zones at 1,000 feet, while the other proposes 750 feet.
As a local regulatory authority, Fairbanks has been looking to draft regulations for years. However, officials decided to wait until the results from 2017’s ballot initiatives attempting to ban commercial pot in the city, and separately in the borough. When those ballot measures were roundly defeated, a renewed effort to draft regulations began.
Much of the proposed code uses language similar to the code for alcohol establishments, and the ordinance’s process for approving licenses is how the city has been approaching applications until now.
The new code establishes restrictions on marijuana establishments and provides guidelines for protesting license applications if restrictions or laws are violated.
The city may protest a license because of delinquent taxes, the character of the surrounding neighborhood, actual and potential law enforcement problems, the concentration of similar establishments, parking facilities and portions of the applicants’ criminal history.
Alaska statute limits the number of alcohol licenses based on population, but Fairbanks has many times the allowable number because of grandfather rights.
Contact staff writer Robin Wood at 459-7510. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMcity.