Alaska communities weigh pot bans 3 years after legalization

Published: Oct. 2, 2017 at 10:45 AM AKDT
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Voters in parts of Alaska are heading to the polls to decide whether to ban marijuana within their borders.

The statewide initiative that legalized recreational marijuana in 2014 allows local governments to ban cannabis growing, manufacturing, retail and testing businesses. Tuesday's elections will affect Fairbanks, parts of the Fairbanks North Star Borough and parts of the Kenai Peninsula Borough, southwest of Anchorage.

If the measures are successful, several dozen businesses would have to close. Some in the industry worry that could embolden other communities to pursue bans or cause state lawmakers to consider rolling back legalization.

Cary Carrigan, with the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, called the votes a pivotal moment for the state's cannabis industry.

Supporters of the bans say local residents deserve a say on whether cannabis shops should operate in their communities.