Even once marijuana is legalized, there are some folks who just don’t want to deal with the commercialization if they are being forced to deal with legalization already. In every state to legalize there are at least a handful (if not more) of communities who have decided to ban the commercial cultivation and sale of cannabis. This, of course, causes problems for those living in the area hoping to break into the industry on a more local level.
In Alaska, things are no different right now as a citizen named Jim Ostlind, a resident of Salcha, has created a group called Drug-Free Fairbanks and drafted an initiative to ban commercial cannabis in the county. Fortunately for some, and unfortunately for Ostlind and the rest of Drug-Free Fairbanks, the initiative will only apply to North Star Borough and not the cities themselves, which have their own ordinances.
The group held a meeting last week at Noel Wien Public Library, led by Ostlind, where he explained why he is leading the initiative and went into detail about the initiative itself. Of the 40 people who attended the meeting, around 10 of them were actually there on behalf of the cannabis industry to see where the group was headed.
At one point, a cannabis industry advocate started taking pictures with their smartphone – which lead one of the Drug-Free Fairbanks members to do this same, eventually leading to security coming in to put an end to the ridiculousness. The cannabis advocates were there in order to come up with a plan to form their own group in retaliation to the initiative that would force them to move to another city to open their doors.
At this point the anti-legalization group has roughly three weeks to gather a minimum of 2,000 validated signatures. We all know that means they will need at least 2,500 to 3,000 minimally, that way if there are any signatures from people who are not registered voters or double signatures that they will have cushion between their final count and the 2,000 they need.
“This essentially knocks us back two years,” he said (Nathan Davis, who hopes to open a retail cannabis shop). “We are definitely gearing up and seeing what we can do to stop this.”
While it seems unlikely that they will gather enough signatures in the following weeks, the cannabis industry won’t be taking any chances. They attended the meeting so they could make a plan to go forward, in the hopes that even if the initiative does make it to the October ballot that voters will choose to vote against it. With enough support, they will hopefully get their message across and ensure locals have the opportunities in the industry that they deserve.