Sponsors of a voter initiative to ban commercial marijuana businesses in the City of Fairbanks submitted over 500 signatures Friday in an effort to get the measure on the fall 2017 ballot. Petition sponsor Vivian Stiver, with the group “Drug Free Fairbanks”, says petitioners have gathered well above the 519 required, but the signatures must be of registered voters who live in the city, and are subject to review.
“Say they look at the signatures, there are several that bring us under 519 because theyr’re thrown out for whatever reason,” Stiver said. “We would then be given an additional two weeks to collect the difference.”
Stiver said petition sponsors have until September 15th to get the required number of valid signatures. Stiver said she gathered signatures at several locations this summer including outside the library and at the Tanana Valley State Fair.
“It was interesting,” Stiver said. “A lot of people were just unsure about what all had been legalizded under this law. I think one of the biggest things they’re surprised by are the edibles that can be out there. They are very much likened to national brand foods. Very hard to distinguish for young children…the difference.”
Stiver said many people she talked to also did not realize that under the statewide ballot proposition passed in 2014 legalizing recreational and commercial marijuana, local governments have the option of banning retail sale of the drug by ordinance or voter initiative. Drug Free Fairbanks also has a petition in the works to ban retail sale of marijuana in the North Star Borough, outside of the cities of Fairbanks and North Pole.