Marijuana prohibition, tax hikes to be decided in Tuesday's local elections

Published: Oct. 2, 2017 at 10:23 PM AKDT
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Here are some of the biggest questions to be decided in Tuesday’s local elections across Alaska.

Marijuana prohibition

Marijuana businesses in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the City of Fairbanks all stand to lose their ability to operate. The measures in those three communities are expected to draw increased voter turnout, as it could have major implications on cannabis shops, cultivations facilities, manufacturing facilities and testing centers that just opened their doors in the past year.

Fairbanks North Star Borough

(Prop. 1) - Shall the Fairbanks North Star Borough adopt a local option to prohibit the operation of marijuana establishments inside the borough in the area outside the cities?

City of Fairbanks

(Prop. A) - Shall the citizen’s initiative petition to prohibit the operation of marijuana establishments within the City of Fairbanks be ratified?

Kenai Peninsula Borough

(Prop. 1) - Shall the Kenai Peninsula Borough adopt a local option to prohibit the operation of any commercial marijuana establishment outside of the Borough cities…?

Tax Increases

Tax increases are under consideration by voters in at least seven communities.

Talkeetna residents are voting to potentially establish a three percent sales tax to fund the Talkeetna Sewer and Water utility.

Wasilla residents are considering a one percent sales tax increase to go towards law enforcement funding. If passed, the Wasilla sales tax will rise to three percent on Jan. 1 for two years, or until $12 million to construct and equip a new Wasilla Police Department facility. When the sunset of the tax is reached, half of one percent will remain in perpetuity.

Bethel residents are voting on a proposed increase to the alcohol sales tax, from the current 12 percent rate to 15 percent. The ordinance behind the ballot includes amendments to code to further focus on putting alcohol tax revenues towards health, public safety and social service issues arising from the use of alcohol in the village. Bethel's first liquor store opened about a year and a half ago.

The city of Fairbanks’ ballot considers a measure to increase property taxes to offset the lost revenue-sharing funds that have been reduced from the state. Prop. B would increase taxes on property owners by $63 on every $100,000 of assessed property value.

Unalaska’s Prop. 1 would increase sales tax on alcohol, marijuana, tobacco from three percent to six percent.

Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s Prop. 1 asks voters to increase sales tax on marijuana from 2.5 percent to 7.5 percent.