Summary: Onsite consumption of marijuana is heading back to the Committee of the Whole for more discussion before heading back to the Assembly, and there is now an Aak’w Kwáan Village District.
Assembly members are delivering short reports. Tonight’s meeting is wrapping up about two hours earlier than the last Assembly meeting.
While marijuana advocates spoke, Houston exited the Assembly Chambers.
She said with some minor revisions, the resolution renaming the Willoughby District was approved.
Since there will not be a public hearing for the marijuana ordinance tonight, some marijuana retail professionals who showed up to support giving the OK to onsite consumption were not able to speak.
However, Lacy Wilcox, Alaska Marijuana Industry Association member and marijuana lobbyist; Ben Wilcox, co-owner of THC Alaska; and Jennifer Canfield, co-owner of marijuana retailer Green Elephant; shared their thoughts on the possible ordinance with the Empire after leaving the Assembly Chambers.
Ben Wilcox said it’s “common sense” to provide a place for adults to consume marijuana responsibly, and marijuana should be regulated like alcohol.
“We provide a place to consume beverages,” he said.
Canfield said onsite smoking is currently a more viable business model than onsite edible consumption.
Also, she said the state already has strict regulations in place for onsite consumption that would address some of the Assembly’s concerns.
Without permitting onsite consumption, Canfield said people will continue to smoke in public.
“As a retailer, we sell a lot of joints,” Canfield said. “We sell a lot of joints, people smoke a lot of joints. Where are they going to smoke them?”
Onsite consumption will be revisited at the July 8 Committee of the whole meeting.
Assembly member Michelle Bonnet Hale said the Assembly is taking the tourism concerns to heart.
“We really definitely appreciate what you’re saying,” Hale said. “We move slowly, and I apologize for that.”
“We will be following up, I just can’t say when or how,” she added.
Metcalfe said action would be preferred to discussion and the sooner the better.
Day said he wants people to report inappropriate tourism practices, such as commercial tours stopping at Sandy Beach.
He asked that people call the Tourism Hotline at 586-6774.
“We are not adverse to talk about capacity,” Day said. “We should, and other ports in the world that I manage in Norway and Sweden are having that discussion.”
“We’re willing hard with the community,” he added. “We’re willing to work with you.”
Paula Terrel, one of the principal organizers for Juneau Residents Affected by Tourism, said she has found the Assembly’s response to the group’s questions concerning.
“We’re asking you, please put this as a priority and not just shirk away from it,” Terrel said.
Sue Schrader, who is also part of the group, is discussing the $20 million fine that was levied against Carnival Cruise Lines earlier this month, which is the parent company of Princess Cruises and Holland America.
“Tourism is a major industry and should be subject to zoning laws,” said Brien Daugherty, who is the fifth anti-tourism speaker at the night’s meeting. “When you look at zoning, if the Glacier is heavy use, make Montana Creek, make Thunder Mountain off limits. The city Assembly needs to be more proactive.”
Kim Metcalfe, another one of the initial organizers for the group, is also on the docket to talk.
Then Kirby Day, Tourism Best Management Practices coordinator, will speak.
The meeting began with a special recognition of retiring assessor Robin Potter.
Some members of Juneau Residents Affected by Tourism are in the audience. The group of residents concerned with how crowds of tourists affect the capital city has made it a point to attend and speak at recent Assembly meetings.
We’ll see what they have to say when public comment on non-agenda items comes up soon.
Aak’w Kwáan spokesperson Frances Houston is in attendance tonight to witness the probable Willoughby District name change, but she said she’s not planning to speak duringthe meeting.
However, Houston told the Empire she is pleased by the change.
“I discussed it with other Aak’w Kwáan, and they voted on it, and they’re happy,” Houston said.
Tonight’s City and Borough of Juneau Assembly meeting will feature a couple of high-profile issues: Colonial names and onsite consumption of marijuana.
An ordinance that would amend CBJ code to allow use of edible and smokable marijuana at retailers that met the state’s criteria will be introduced tonight. It was previously discussed at April 8 and June 10 Committee of the Whole meetings, and it moved forward by a narrow vote two weeks ago.
The deputy city manager recommends the Assembly refer the matter back to the Committee of the Whole in tonight’s meeting packet.
A resolution to rename the Willoughby District the Aak’w Village District has been less divisive at past meetings.
The deputy city manager recommends adopting the resolution.
Neither topic is very early on the agenda, but an ordinance that would allow tax breaks for senior assisted-living developments will probably generate some discussion.
• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.