State proposed regulations would limit Ketchikan marijuana

KETCHIKAN — Proposed state regulations could keep marijuana businesses from opening almost anywhere in downtown Ketchikan.

The Ketchikan Daily News reported that draft regulations from the Marijuana Control Board prevent marijuana businesses from opening within 500 feet of schools, churches and other places where children congregate.

Members of the Ketchikan Marijuana Advisory Committee said they will use state regulations as a guideline, and adjustments may be made later.

“For downtown, particularly, you have churches on second floors of buildings, and you’ve got day care centers in many places people don’t think of,” said Ketchikan Gateway Borough planning director Borough Chris French. He’s the committee’s lead staff member on marijuana issues.

Draft regulations are legally required to be in place in November.

City Councilman Bob Sivertsen is a co-chair on the advisory committee, and says that’s state’s rules will evolve over time.

“They got to start some place,” Sivertsen said. “I think that being more restrictive rather than less restrictive is probably a good idea in this particular case.”

Because Ketchikan is geographically narrow and along the waterfront, tight regulations could pose a problem for prospective businesses.

Outside of the downtown area, French is proposing a 1,000-foot buffer zone around schools, which is double the state’s rule. He said the 1,000-foot zone would not be a ban, but that prospective business owners could apply for a conditional use permit to operate within the zone.

“It’s a public review process, whereas if you’re outside of that (buffer), it’s not a public process,” French said. “You just come in and get a zoning permit. As long as you meet the standards, you’re fine.”

Committee members will not take further action until Friday, when several regulations are up for votes.

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