Early numbers favor keeping pot shops open in some Alaska communities

Published: Oct. 3, 2017 at 9:21 PM AKDT
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A big win for marijuana advocates as unofficial results show three propositions failing that would have banned marijuana businesses.

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"As a city council within the city, we're going to talk about whether we want to allow on-site consumption of cannabis," Fairbanks city mayor Jim Matherly said during an interview with Channel 2 News. "How many do we want in the city limits? How to space them out. Where to locate them so those are the two big ones that I know, as a council, we'll be focusing on."

Earlier on Tuesday, borough assembly member Lance Roberts said they don't have any intention of putting it back on the ballot.

"We just wanted people to get a chance to say 'No,'" he said. "Just like 70 percent of Colorado communities did."

A voter initiative to ban legal marijuana businesses in the Kenai Peninsula Borough outside of incorporated cities found fewer supporters than opponents, according to early election results.

Within the KPB, 23 out of 24 precincts were reporting in with 64 percent of the vote against Proposition One and 36 percent in support. The results are unofficial.

Prior to the results of the election, a man who signed the initial petition to put the question to voters said supporters didn’t have the same resources as the opposition.

"This is a grassroots movement, and I suppose it’s David against Goliath," said Keith Hamilton. "I don’t have $40,000 to raise. We’re a group of concerned citizens all across our borough that wants to make sure there’s an option for us to opt out of having marijuana cannabis in our neighborhoods."

A group called

said it had visited every community in the peninsula and had people waving signs at 10 locations on the day of the election.

"We’re all nervous," said Dollynda Phelps. "We all feel pretty confident we’ve done our due diligence, and hopefully – for the benefit of the community – we will all stay in business."

The Borough Clerks office said many more absentee ballots had come in, compared to a typical election, and said that based on the numbers so far it could be Oct. 10 before all the votes are counted.

This story will be updated with the latest results, when they are available.

Channel 2's Caslon Hatch, Dan Carpenter, Juan Montes and Sidney Sullivan contributed to this report.