Fairbanks Faces Cannabis Ban
This October 3rd we are facing a cannabis ban in Fairbanks only 3 years after it was legalized. A proposition prompted by an individual who believes cannabis is a drug comparable to meth and heroin. This individual collected the minimum percentage of our community’s signatures which got the ban a place on the upcoming ballot. If passed, Proposition A would ban cannabis from within the city of Fairbanks and Proposition 1 would ban it from the entire Fairbanks North Star Borough. You will be voting on one or the other depending on where you live. If you are reading this that suggests you are more than likely to Vote NO on Propositions 1 and A and we want to send one million mahalos your way for the continued support up to the vote. The outcome will most likely effect you in one way or another whether you partake in consuming cannabis or not. The majority of Alaska believes in the benefits of legal retail cannabis and that was proven when we voted to legalize it on November 4th, 2014. We have now built a new Alaskan industry, with many newly created jobs, upon this majority decision and it is being threatened by a small group of people that do not ever have to step foot in a cannabis store if they choose not to. We’ll dive a little deeper into the reasons why banning cannabis in our community would be a huge mistake.
Economy and Community
It is hard to believe it has been almost 3 years since the state of Alaska voted to legalize retail cannabis. It has been quite the journey and we are just now beginning to catch a glimpse at what this industry has to offer at its full capacity. Though it has not yet been even 1 year since Pakalolo Supply Company made the first legal sale to a customer in Alaska (10/28/16), the total state tax revenue landed at $1.2 million with the month of May’s collection amount of $272,600. If that monthly collection number continued to grow at the same rate over the following couple of months (or even if it stayed exactly the same) we should be passing the $2 million mark with this month’s tax collection. The cannabis industry has also began to offer a notable amount of jobs and careers and as the industry grows the number of jobs will grow with it. Regardless of how you feel about marijuana these are important factors to consider at a time where the state continues to cut its budget due to the decline of the oil industry that Alaska has made its name from. The cannabis industry provides the perfect solution to this issue and the proof is in the state’s fattening wallet. In regards to the community, cannabis related businesses have been incredibly supportive in general outreach with donations and educating the public. Cannabis is something that everyone can largely benefit from whether you are taking part in consuming it or not. Let’s not squander this incredible opportunity for jobs, community support and education that all comes from legally cultivating and selling the natural plant, cannabis.
Legality and Safety
Looking past the benefit to the local and state economy, legalizing retail marijuana has provided an avenue for people of all ages (obviously starting at 21 and going up) to safely and confidently buy cannabis without facing guilt, criminal charges or something worse. Even from a consumer standpoint, instead of meeting a black market dealer in a parking lot to acquire the single strain they have, you get to walk into our well lit store and talk with knowledgeable budtenders to learn and then choose from 20 different strains spanning over 50 different products on our digital menus. Another important point is that you will always know exactly what you are purchasing as the product is required by law to be tested for THC/CBD composition as well as harmful substances like mold (you know your local weed guy isn’t getting his buds tested…).
One of the most frequently used arguments is that kids have a better chance of acquiring and consuming cannabis when it is legal. We simply can’t make sense of this. Cannabis wasn’t recently invented so deterring kids from it’s use should remain standard for most parents. It’s also not a new concept to keep your children away from substances you feel are harmful (alcohol, tobacco, bleach, antifreeze) It seems like common sense that people that purchase legal cannabis are also of sound enough mind and responsible enough to keep the substance away from children. The Drug Free Fairbanks group doesn’t believe that cannabis consumers have the ability to do this. We frankly find this insulting to all legal cannabis users and to all of the people the vote to legalize cannabis back in 2014. The City/Borough/State has taken extra measures to shelter children from cannabis as much as possible. Including strict zoning guidelines, requirements for childproof packaging and strict advertising regulations. What happens with the marijuana after it leaves the retail store is the responsibility of the person who bought it which is no different than cigarettes, alcohol or guns. Banning retail marijuana does not mean it will simply disappear. It will still be bought and sold in Fairbanks. These sales will take place on the black market and individuals under 21 will still have the choice and opportunity to acquire cannabis, much easier than a legal retail store with double ID checks I might add. It is up to us as adults to properly educate the younger generations about marijuana to make the right choice when the opportunity arises and that is more likely to happen when it is legally accepted. The more we know the more we can teach. Banning cannabis will only strip away the benefits while the same issues that have always caused concern will remain.
From a personal stand point I have seen people of all walks of life just filled with joy from the simple fact that they now have the right to walk into a store and purchase cannabis, something they choose and feel is OK to consume, without feeling looked down upon or worried that they will be criminally punished. The conversations and sharing of information are filled with excitement at the opportunity to learn more and become part of the next gold rush, so to speak. There is a certain “It’s about damn time” feeling that is completely warranted and therefore we cannot and will not let it be reversed. For most of us the upcoming propositions 1 and A on the October 3rd ballot are a no brainer to vote NO on the proposed ban and KEEP CANNABIS LEGAL. Still we must play it on the safe side and make sure that we win this vote. We don’t want to win by a small margin. We want to win in a landslide so that the donors contributing to the campaign to ban cannabis will have wasted their money and will no longer continue funding a losing campaign. If you agree with the points made in this article we encourage you to share it with as many people as you can. There are many who have no idea this vote is coming so we need to get the word out. Come into Pakalolo Supply Company to learn more, register to vote and get some stickers/buttons (pictured below) to help us spread the word:
Let Your Voice Be Heard on October 3rd and Vote NO on Prop 1 and Prop A!