Smaller marijuana cultivators are already exempt from strict property drawbacks in Mat-Su, a change some say will assist the Valley’s longtime illicit area growers move from the black market into legal sales.
Others, however, say the change does not go far enough to boost the increase of a leading commercial marijuana industry.
Mat-Su, with its rich soils and proximity to urban centers of demand, has for ages been viewed as the marijuana cultivation capital in Alaska. But growers outside the city of Houston fell under a months-long commercial marijuana moratorium in 2016 and are just now starting to get underway amid a statewide legal marijuana supply deficit.
In what critics called another challenge to cannabis industry here, borough regulations adopted in August for legal marijuana comprised a 100-foot setback from rear lot lines or adjoining side, and 50 feet from roads.
Preparation officials say given the borough’s lack of proper zoning, that was the sole solution to safeguard residential areas from being inundated with commercial marijuana businesses.
The drawbacks are stricter than those in state law, which require marijuana businesses be more than 500 feet from a school, recreation or youth center or correctional facility.