Anchorage Assembly approves 3 more marijuana licenses
At Tuesday’s Anchorage Assembly meeting, just two people spoke out against a midtown marijuana business that a Campbell Elementary School employee protested in a school message to parents on Monday.
The employee, who has not be identified, sent out an audio message to all parents at the school, urging them to attend the meeting and oppose the business, Raspberry Roots. The Anchorage School District said the message was not approved by the principal of the school, and was not an appropriate use of school resources.
Candy Bracken, who lives in the Campbell neighborhood, attended the meeting and told the Assembly she was not for or against the business, just its location at 501 Raspberry Road.
“This is a walking zone for the children of Campbell Elementary,” she said at the meeting. “The crime in this neighborhood has been rising significantly over the last several months. I’m not saying the marijuana business will bring in more crime, but it’s another addition to the possibility in this neighborhood of families.”
Only one other person shared similar thoughts at the meeting. Seven other people publicly expressed support for Raspberry Roots, which is more than 3,000 feet from the school — more than twice the required distance of 500 feet laid out by the Municipality of Anchorage.
Raspberry Roots owner Kim Kole told the Assembly she’s followed every state and local requirement and been at every community council meeting to advocate for her business as she moves through the process to acquire an agriculture cultivation license. She also noted that another commercial marijuana business was approved to open at an even closer location to the school — Arctic Herbery is set to open its doors on Nov. 1 at 7107 Arctic Boulevard, less than half a mile away from Campbell Elementary.
A former teacher, Kole said she was not amused by last night’s biased message from the district she taught in for more than a decade.
“This process does not allow any cannabis to move quietly in anywhere,” Kole said after explaining the number of ways she has tried to notify the local community of her business plans. “So if the principal is unaware of these businesses going up in the area, causing her to inappropriately send out automatic propaganda calls to parents, it speaks more to her ignorance of the process and her disengagement from the community than anything else and I shouldn’t be penalized for it.”
The Assembly approved Kole’s marijuana cultivation license. Only Dick Traini voted no.
Raspberry Roots plans to sell pot eventually, Kole said. Before that can happen, however, she will have to go through a separate process to secure that license.
The Anchorage Assembly unanimously approved two other marijuana-related licenses for two retail businesses. ALASKAbuds plans to open on Fifth Avenue, according to its website. Enlighten Alaska will conduct business on Spenard Road beginning in December.
KTVA 11’s Shannon Ballard and Emily Carlson contributed to this report.
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