Petition seeks to cap number of downtown Anchorage pot shops

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - A number of business owners are banding together to petition city leaders to cap the number of marijuana businesses allowed in the downtown core.

Owner of the Historic Anchorage Hotel, Bob Neumann said “dozens” of his fellow business owners have signed a petition asking the Anchorage Assembly to consider a moratorium on approving new retail cannabis stores until a comprehensive marijuana plan for the area is developed.

“Right now there are no restrictions on how many pot shops and where they can be located in Downtown Anchorage,” said Neumann.

Downtown assembly member Chris Constant said it’s an issue that’s been voiced to him over recent weeks.

“The city opted not to create any limitations on the licensure, instead they used zoning rules that made it pretty difficult for these businesses to find a place to open,” said Constant.

Constant said this summer he'll be reviewing a handful of pot permits of entrepreneurs seeking to open in downtown Anchorage and will be balancing the interests of the established businesses, the community and the new marijuana industry

“When the projects come forward, you look closely at: do they comply with the setbacks, their required the distances from protected uses, are all of the elements that they need in their plan, security, safety and management all addressed? And if they are, it's pretty difficult to say no,” said Constant.

For Neumann, he said public displays of marijuana are not an issue.

“We're not against pot shops,” said Neumann. “It's a new industry, it's been voted on, it's not the issue. It's how many and where.”

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