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KODIAK — Kodiak City Council members voted to issue a letter of non-objection for what is slated to be Kodiak’s third marijuana retail store during a Kodiak City Council meeting Thursday. 

All present council members voted yes on the issue. Council member Randall Bishop was absent. 

Janiese Stevens, who applied for the license, plans to open her marijauna retail shop Wildflower at 158 Alimaq Drive on Near Island. She will be the first Kodiak cannabis business-owner to both cultivate marijuana and sell marijuana products. 

She, along with a business partner Dan Coglianese, are in the process of setting up a cultivation facility, called Alaska Lovin It, in Homer.

Stevens told KDM on Monday that she is excited about the process moving forward. She is now awaiting a vote on a similar letter by the Kodiak Island Borough during its regular meeting on Thursday. 

At the city council meeting, City Manager Mike Tvenge explained that the city will collect a 7 percent sales tax on marijuana products sold within city limits, as well as a flat $500 from the state, which is half of the application cost paid by the applicant. 

The conditions for the issue of a non-objection letter prohibit the sale of edible marijuana products.

When it comes to the question of cannabis edibles, Stevens sees Kodiak’s ban as a misstep. Though she accepts the decision, she believes that the regulation was introduced due to a lack of education. She pointed out that a medical professional who might advocate for the benefits of medical marijuana would still never recommend a patient smoke anything.

Stevens previously told KDM she thinks the decision to prohibit edibles may have been made because people are not familiar how edibles are regulated. She hopes that once more marijuana stores open and people see how they are being run and regulated responsibly, people will change their minds. 

“The prohibition of the sale of marijuana products I believe is to make sure that it’s not as attractive to children and minors as it might be,” Council member Terry Haines said at Thursday’s meeting. 

“We are continuing to review [the prohibition of edible marijuana products] and if folks have input about that we would be glad to hear it,” he added.  

After Alaskans voted in 2014 to legalize marijuana, local officials banned the sale of marijuana until they could figure out how to regulate it. To help advance this process, Kodiak Island Borough created a marijuana task force in 2016. One year later, the city and borough legalized commercial marijuana. 

Since then, three businesses  have been approved by local governments: Kodiak’s first marijuana store High Rise LLC, The Dejavu Cannabis Company, whose storefront is currently under construction; and Bells Flats Botanicals, a marijuana cultivation facility. 

The new license for Wildflower will be a financial benefit to the city, said Kodiak City Mayor Pat Branson told KDM. 

“It’s another marijuana store paying sales tax, so we look forward to that sales tax coming into the coffers of the city,” she said. 

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