Letter: Marijuana shouldn’t be allowed in residential areas

Commercial marijuana operations shouldn’t be allowed in residential areas. A hundred people have already signed a petition to stop that, and I bet most of Juneau agrees.

Marijuana is now legal under Alaska law. But many in Juneau voted the other way. Many Juneau residents don’t want legalized marijuana, much less commercial growing in their neighborhood.

Even the majority that voted in favor of marijuana also voted for strict regulation. The ballot measure that brought us legal marijuana was based on the notion that the drug would be regulated as strictly as alcohol.

I hope all voters are dismayed that the state has dropped the ball on regulating marijuana. Sure, the Marijuana Control Board adopted dozens of pages of regulations, but those don’t do much more than create a lot of paperwork requirements.

Are marijuana sellers required to have insurance? No. The original draft of the state regs requiring sellers to have at least $1 million of insurance was dropped when marijuana industry lobbyists swung into action. Bars are prohibited from selling to persons under the influence. Not marijuana sellers.

The Alaska Legislature also dropped the ball. An open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle gets you into trouble. Not so with marijuana. Do our DUI laws need changes to address legal marijuana? Sure. Has the Legislature done anything about that? No. Are marijuana sellers statutorily responsible for civil damages as a result of selling marijuana the same way alcohol sellers are? No.

But just because the Legislature and the MCB won’t stand up against the marijuana lobby doesn’t mean that we in Juneau have to capitulate, too.

Commercial marijuana operations just don’t belong in residential neighborhoods. Those facilities hold large amounts of drugs, and maybe cash, and they’re tempting robbery targets. I suppose with enough razor-ribbon (like at Lemon Creek Correctional Center) they might not get robbed as often, or maybe all it will take is high intensity lights and armed security guards. But think about your kids. Then think about the value of your home.

Just say “no” to commercial pot in your neighborhood — or anyone else’s.

Dean Guaneli