Fairbanks, AL says yes to cannabis cafes

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The Fairbanks City Council signs off on an ordinance to allow on-site cannabis consumption

First, there was a no. Then, there was a yes. Fairbanks, AL has reversed an ordinance previously approved that had banned on-site cannabis consumption, now allowing the practice to take place. The ordinance was approved by a vote of 4-2.

David Pruhs, Shoshana Kun, Kathryn Ottersten and Valerie Therrien all agreed to green-light the policy this past Monday, while June Rogers and Jerry Cleworth were against it. Cleworth argued that the matter should have been put to a vote by the city’s residents. However, the City Council exists for a reason and not everything needs to be put to a vote. Residents were given an opportunity to have their voices heard prior to the City Council’s action.

Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board recently agreed that on-site consumption could be allowed, making the state the first in the country to legalize the activity. While the City Council has said yes, there is still a lot that has to be addressed before consumption lounges or cafés will begin to appear. According to Alaskan Assemblyman Christopher Constant, who sits on the Community Economic Development Committee of Fairbanks, “We’re taking our time. We’ll be sending some of it to the Planning and Zoning Commission to review things like signage and how certain systems will have to work, adding, “[The guidelines have] to make sense. I don’t want it to be rushed through. I want it to be unassailable if or when this passes.”

According to guidelines that have already been circulating, the lounges could be limited to outdoor spaces, or indoors if in a standalone structure. Indoor facilities will need to include a working ventilation system and all marijuana consumed in the lounges must have been sold by the retailer where the lounge is located. There also has to be a smoke-free location from where employees can monitor the lounges.