Legal Cannabis at Risk in Alaska

On Oct. 3, voters in Fairbanks, Alaska and two neighboring boroughs will be asked to decide the fate of the legalized cannabis market — and their decision could change the entire state’s marijuana landscape.

Alaska became the third U.S. state to end the prohibition of marijuana on Nov. 4, 2014 with the passage of Ballot Measure 2. And while the argument for or against legal marijuana typically occurs long before any such legalization takes place, nearly 200,000 residents of Fairbanks, the Fairbanks North Star Borough, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough find themselves embroiled in that very debate all over again.

When marijuana was legalized in 2014, the legislation left open the possibility for cities and municipalities to ban marijuana-related businesses “through the enactment of an ordinance or by a voter initiative.” The local option laws do, however, prevent the local government from banning the possession or personal use of cannabis.

In the City of Fairbanks, voters will be tasked with making a decision on Proposition A, which aims to ban all cannabis companies from conducting business within city limits. A renewed prohibition on the cannabis market in…

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