No On-Site Cannabis Consumption for Homer
The Homer City Council Monday night decided against becoming the fourth community in the state to allow on-site consumption of cannabis products. It was not an application by Old Town’s Cosmic Cannabis Company that was voted down, but two of their owners, including Chris Logan, spoke in favor of the ordinance.
“Me and my business partner Chris Long are co-owners of the CCC on East Bunnell Ave, right next to Two Sisters," Logan said. "Several of you have been down there to visit us.”
In a council work session earlier in the day, Homer Police Chief Mark Robl said he might be forced to send officers home after responding to a cannabis smoking room due to the risk of a contact high. Logan pointed out that not only would their proposed smoking area be outside, but it would still have smoke eaters to keep the smell of marijuana from drifting.
“Pursuant to some of the issues that have been raised; no smoking will be allowed inside the building. Only outside on the deck, in a designated smoking area with air handlers,” she said.
Logan said there are important differences between on-site cannabis consumption and on-site alcohol consumption, with strict limits on quantities, and it all must be consumed on site.
Kristin McDonald, a 30-year nurse and a volunteer for the American Cancer Society had concerns about potential on-site consumption in Old Town.
“Bishop's Beach is a family area. There's dogs and children everywhere. And I have great concern just for the impairment of the people that would be coming out of Cosmic Cannabis. I mean, you don't really know the exact effect that each type of marijuana may have on you, how strong it may affect you. Some may make you paranoid and anxious. Others give you a heightened sense of euphoria. They would definitely put a new stress on our police officers,” McDonald said. “So as a mom, as a nurse and as a resident I would hope that this wouldn't be passed.”
Existing on-site consumption rooms are in Fairbanks, Juneau and Ketchikan, and mostly serve the tourist trade. While allowed to buy cannabis while visiting Alaska, tourists are not allowed to vape or smoke in most hotel rooms, rental cars, and certainly not in public, leaving them with no place to legally partake.
Nevertheless, Councilman Heath Smith said he saw no benefit to the city in allowing the practice.
“I understand the benefit to the business, because that’s what they do. I haven’t been presented with anything that’s compelling enough that says this is in the best interest to the community.”
Councilmembers Donna Aderhold and Storm Hansen-Cavasos voted in favor of on-site consumption, while Smith, Rachel Lord and Caroline Venuti all voted no.