Ketchikan assembly votes against federal pot rules

KETCHIKAN — The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly has approved changes to local marijuana zoning rules, with members voting in favor of an ordinance more in line with state law than federal regulations.

The assembly approved an amendment Monday that removes a requirement for marijuana cultivators to follow stricter federal transportation laws when moving their product. The amendment leaves only state law in borough code, The Ketchikan Daily News reported.

The assembly also shot down a draft ordinance from a June 6 meeting that would have expanded zones where pot businesses are prohibited, such as near schools, public housing and playgrounds. The new borough code maintains the 500-foot buffer zone around schools instead of the proposed federal buffer of 1,000 feet.

Assembly member Stephen Bradford said he would not support having the borough enforce federal law.

“I don’t think it’s our duty to concern ourselves … (with) federal law when our state government has approved this process and approved commerce in cannabis,” Bradford said. “I think we have a definite obligation to follow state law.”

Alan Bailey, one of three assembly members who voted against the amendment, said violating federal law made him fear “for the outcome of our community.”

Federal regulations prohibit the transport of marijuana by air and water. The borough’s new code prevents those rules from being used to deny marijuana businesses a permit.

The borough still requires businesses to have a transportation plan as well as plans for odor control and testing. The state also requires the same documents before it issues licenses to marijuana businesses.

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