City Council supports Fairbanks business to be first with onsite marijuana consumption in Alaska

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Fairbanks is one step closer to being the first place in Alaska with onsite marijuana consumption. At Monday night's meeting, the Fairbanks City Council unanimously voted to allow Fairbanks Cut LLC, to become the first onsite consumption business in the last frontier. Despite the city council's complete support, in a July 11th decision, the Marijuana Control Board voted against the notion.

At Monday night's meeting, the Fairbanks City Council unanimously voted to allow Fairbanks Cut LLC, to become the first onsite consumption business in the last frontier. (Andrew Hawkins/KTVF)

The board, which is supposed to have five members, has had only four members for some time. Fairbanks' own Brandon Emmett, who served on the board, was reportedly told by the Dunleavy administration that they were not interested in him continuing to serve on the Marijuana Control Board.

The administration later chose a replacement for Emmett, Vivian Stiver, but her appointment was not approved by the legislature. In a split decision of 2 to 2, the board declined the Fairbanks Cut an onsite consumption license. The board Chair and Rural Member, Mark Springer, along with the Industry Member, Nick Miller, voted in favor of licensing the business, while the Public Safety Member, Christopher Jaime, and the Public Health Member, Loren Jones, voted against it.

The only complaint filed against Fairbanks Cut LLC receiving an onsite license came from the building department. The address for the Fairbanks Cut is a suite number, meaning they share the building with another business. G2 Construction operates above the marijuana shop. Since the two businesses use the same building, there is concern that it is not freestanding, something the Marijuana Control Board has dictated a building used for onsite consumption must be.

A Freestanding building is defined as, "a building that is not supported by another structure and does not share ventilation or internal air space with an adjoining structure and smoke from the building cannot travel into the adjoining structure." At the Fairbanks City Council, Owner of the Fairbanks Cut, Lily Bosshart, gave testimony about the board's decision.

"We feel our building meets the definition of Freestanding to the letter," said Bosshart. "We wouldn't have gone into this building had we not thought that. There is not shared air between upstairs and downstairs."

Currently, the Marijuana Control Board’s decision is being appealed and there has been a request for a formal hearing. Unless the board's decision is overturned, the City Council's support will not be enough to allow onsite consumption for the business; however, if the decision is overturned, Fairbanks Cut LLC will have all the support it needs to start onsite consumption.

If Fairbanks Cut LLC receives its license, there will still be limitations on what it can serve onsite. Items with marijuana concentrates cannot be served onsite, nor can any edible with more than 10 mg of THC. A marijuana bud or flower consumed onsite cannot exceed one gram per day. Other products that contain tobacco will not be allowed to be consumed on location. Nonalcoholic and marijuana-free food and beverages can be sold and consumed onsite.

Bosshart says that if they receive their license, onsite consumption will take place outside. According to a worker at the shop, some construction is being planned for onsite consumption, but it is still in its beginning phase.

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