Possession of marijuana for personal use will become legal in Alaska Tuesday, but the Wrangell Borough Assembly has not started a formal discussion regarding consumption and sales in the borough.
Assembly members and Wrangell residents have brought up the issue at meetings, but assembly members generally agree it is too early to consider any pot ordinances.
“I think we need to wait before we address any commercial concerns until we see what the state’s going to do,” said Assembly Member Daniel Blake.
But Blake also said Wrangell should ask its attorney to construct an ordinance prohibiting the public consumption of marijuana.
“I know Anchorage has already done that. And personally, I don’t want to be sitting out here at the picnic table next to somebody smoking a joint, or down at City Park or anything like that. It’s similar to what a public consumption of alcohol ordinance would be,” Blake said.
Starting Tuesday, Alaskans who are at least 21 years old can be in possession of up to 4 ounces of pot for personal use. Each household can have up to six marijuana plants, with no more than three plants in the flowering stage. It is still illegal to drive under the influence of pot.
Assembly members have pointed out that even when marijuana is legal in Wrangell, there is no legal way to ship pot to Wrangell. Federal laws governing air and sea travel continue to prohibit pot on ferries and airplanes.
State lawmakers will try to answer transportation questions as they develop regulations for the commercial sale of marijuana. According to the state’s timeline, commercial sales will be on hold until mid-2016.
Individual communities can ban commercial pot sales, but Wrangell officials have not formally discussed the issue.
Other Southeast communities including Petersburg and Juneau have formed committees to focus on marijuana regulations.