Alaska voters reject three cannabis business bans

Alaska’s marijuana industry is breathing a sigh of relief after voters in three of the state’s largest population areas – and where a large number of the state’s cannabis businesses operate – resoundingly rejected three different proposed moratoriums.

The moratorium referendums were held Tuesday in Fairbanks (population 33,000), the Fairbanks North Star Borough (100,000) and the Kenai Peninsula Borough (58,000), which between them hold more than a quarter of the state’s 742,000 people.

Had they passed, the local moratoriums would have negatively affected the vast state’s legal marijuana industry. Roughly 25 licensed marijuana businesses, including 18 growers, operate in the Fairbanks area, more than any other region in the state, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

In the Fairbanks and Fairbanks North Star votes, ban opponents defeated supporters by more than 2-to-1 margins, while in Kenai the victory margin was 29%, according to

More local battles remain, however.

The Fairbanks City Council, for example, is expected to consider an ordinance that would cap the number of marijuana businesses in the city, according the News-Miner.

The election was held the same day the Alaska Department of Revenue released its monthly marijuana tax receipts from cultivators.

The state collected nearly $700,000 in August, which was the highest monthly amount since collections began last October. Ten new cultivators began paying taxes in August, and half are from Tuesday’s election areas.

– Associated Press