Valdez vote keeps first marijuana shop in Alaska open

Published: May. 2, 2017 at 9:25 PM AKDT
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Preliminary results from the Valdez Municipal Election show the proposition to ban marijuana businesses in the city is failing by more than 3 to 1.

The ballot asked the question “Shall the City of Valdez Adopt a Local Option to Prohibit the Operation of Commercial Marijuana Establishments?” Early results from all three precincts set the “no” votes at 835, the “yes” to 268.

Valdez is the home of the first marijuana retail shop to open in Alaska.

Herbal Outfitters opened its doors on October 29th, 2016 to long lines of anxious customers wanting to be apart of history. It's the only marijuana retail store in Valdez while a cultivation facility is currently in the process of opening.

Herbal Outfitters' store manager, Derek Morris, said in a phone interview late Tuesday night that the election has re-affirmed the people supporting the marijuana industry are now in the majority.

"We're feeling amazing. We now know that we have a career. We still have a job and we get to stay home in Valdez," said Morris. "It's not only a win for Valdez, but it's a win for the cannabis community."

There are 235 question and absentee ballots which will be counted Wednesday afternoon. The final results of the election will be certified Wednesday night at the regular city council meeting.

In addition to the proposal to ban commercial marijuana businesses in the city, two city council members and two school board seats were also on the ballot.