Marijuana

FAIRBANKS—The North Pole City Council will soon be considering a ban on the sale of marijuana in city limits.

Marijuana retail stores do not reflect the values of the Christmas-themed community, a draft ordinance states.

North Pole Councilwoman Sharron Hunter is behind the measure, which will be the subject of a workshop at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at North Pole City Hall. The workshop is a public meeting, but public testimony won't be accepted at that time, City Clerk Kathy Weber said.

The ordinance is a draft and has not yet been formally introduced before the City Council.

Hunter, who has worked with youths as a drug prevention specialist, said she wants to avoid sending a message to young people that using marijuana is OK.

"It's a subtle message that happens when you have a retail store," she said.

Hunter also said she is concerned that marijuana enforcement might cost the city more than it could recuperate from a tax on sales of marijuana products.

Under the new state law, approved by the voters and going into effect on Feb. 24, communities can opt out of the marijuana industry.

The draft ordinance says marijuana sales would be prohibited in North Pole but that personal use of marijuana would not be affected.

North Pole Mayor Bryce Ward said he is still considering the proposed ban on marijuana sales and looks forward to discussing the matter with other local leaders next week.

In the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Mayor Luke Hopkins is convening a task force to discuss marijuana policy for the borough.

While the initiative legalizing recreational marijuana use passed statewide and in the borough, the measure failed in voting precincts in North Pole.

Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7587.

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