Anchorage Assembly members were divided Tuesday evening on whether to approve an ordinance that would prohibit marijuana businesses from offering military discounts.


Because military members are not allowed to use marijuana, some Assembly members feel the ordinance is redundant, unnecessary and even offensive to soldiers.


“The men and women who serve in uniform, they know the rules. They respect the rules,” said Assembly member Amy Demboski, whose district includes Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. “They follow the rules, and they don’t need to be put in a padded room so that politicians can protect them from themselves.”


Assembly member Bill Evans echoed her sentiments.


“The service members know their obligations and know the restrictions and are smart enough to stay away from what’s gonna get them in trouble,” he said. “And if they would be swayed from that by a discount at a marijuana store in order to risk their career, then they probably should be weeded out anyway.”


Evans also pointed out there is no evidence that any local shops have tried to offer military discounts.


But Assembly member Forrest Dunbar, who proposed the ordinance with co-sponsor Dick Traini, says in a post-legal marijuana state, the lines can get blurry, and he doesn’t want an offered discount to confuse a military member or lead them to believe it’s OK to use pot.


Traini spoke on behalf of the ordinance during the meeting, saying he doesn’t want military members to fall into a trap.


“For many of them, it’s the first time out of their family. They’re here and they see a discount, it looks like a good idea,” he explained. “We want to make sure they don’t destroy their career. That’s all this does, it helps them.”


The Assembly approved the ordinance 8 to 3. Bill Evans, Patrick Flynn and Amy Demboski voted against it.


Dunbar, present at the meeting via telephone, explained the ordinance includes a sunset clause. That means if federal laws change to allow military members to use marijuana, the ordinance will end without any further action needed by the Assembly.


The ordinance does not include veterans.


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