Ringing in the eve of marijuana legalization in Alaska, Wasilla’s city council on Monday banned making pot brownies at home.
Fewer than three hours before recreational marijuana use became legal across the state, the city known for a freewheeling attitude about everything from big box stores to ATVs passed what may at least for now be the strictest local laws governing recreational pot use in Alaska.
The council with a 4-2 vote essentially limited marijuana use within city limits to smoking – or consuming edibles made outside the city – on private property. Even smoking at home is illegal -- if it bothers the neighbors.
The new regulations include a ban on making edibles, concentrates or extracts at home. And at least within Wasilla city limits, it’s now illegal to transport more than 2 ounces of marijuana inside one vehicle. State law allows up to an ounce per adult but doesn’t limit totals. The regulations prohibit marijuana clubs and require that the use of marijuana "cease immediately" if other residents or neighbors are disturbed.
Several council members called the new regulations simply a placeholder until state regulations are adopted later this year.
“This is a first step. This is a building block,” said Stu Graham, the newest council member and the one proposing most of the regulations. “Trouble is, we don’t have any idea what the final product is going to look like like.”
The two council members who voted against the marijuana laws called them premature.
“A lot more work needs to go into it,” said Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, who questioned how police will enforce the laws.
Council member Brandon Wall proposed seven amendments, including a Nov. 24 sunset date to allow for state regulations to go into effect. The council voted the sunset date down. Wall said he couldn’t support the legislation.
A small crowd at the meeting showed disapproval with frequent head shakes and grumbles.
“The ignorance displayed by the council is amazing,” Keenan Williams said during a break. Some members displayed confusion about “wet” marijuana compared to cured product, and at least initially seemed to conflate edible products with riskier methods needed to extract marijuana oils.
Williams and his wife, Sara, hope to set up the Midnight Greenery marijuana dispensary in Wasilla next year after the state clarifies regulations for retail operations.
“It just seems unnecessary to do things twice,” Sara Williams said of the city adopting regulations that will need to be changed when the state’s laws come into play.