The future of Homer’s first potential standard marijuana cultivation facility within city limits is up in the air after Homer Police discovered 30 plants in the facility’s building on Kachemak Drive. The Alcohol and Marijuana Control Board, or AMCO, said the plants violated regulations.
Following memos from AMCO and from Homer Police Chief Mark Robl, the Homer City Council voted at its Monday meeting to object to the license application for Alaska Loven It. The business rents a 5,000-square-foot building on Kachemak Drive and is still in the application process.
According to a memo from Robl to the council, the Marijuana Control Board had received a complaint about odors coming from the building rented by Alaska Loven It. Currently, it shares the space with Alaska Training Room, but ATR plans to move out this month. An AMCO enforcement officer told police of the complaint.
“The officer explained there is a pending application from Alaska Loven It LLC to operate a standard marijuana cultivation facility at that address, but it had not yet been approved,” Robl wrote in the memo. “He stated no marijuana plants should be in that building.”
Homer Police Department Lt. Will Hutt responded to the building on Kachemak Drive on Jan. 12 and, after Alaska Loven It co-owner Dan Coglianese let Hutt in, discovered 24 plants “approximately (4) feet tall and appearing to be (halfway) to maturity,” according to the memo. Janiese Stevens of Kodiak also is a partner of Alaska Loven In.
Robl said in a phone interview on Monday that police actually found 30 plants, but six of them could be counted as personal use.
“It is not permissible to have 24 plants in a facility that is not licensed,” board Director Erika McConnell wrote in an email to the Homer News. “Alaskans are permitted to have, in their residences, (six) plants per adult for their personal grow, with a limit of 12 plants per residence. Their proposed premises was not their residence and had twice the number of plants that would have been permitted at a residence of two adults.”
In an interview Tuesday, Coglianese said he had been under the impression that he would be able to have plants on site prior to his application being finalized as long as they were not flowering.
“The way that I understood it was, you know, it wasn’t exactly a grey area, but with all the paperwork I have I was supposed to be allowed unlimited amounts of unflowering marijuana,” he said.
Coglianese said none of his plants were flowering at the time. He also said he has been staying in the facility and therefore thought the personal grow rule would apply. If Coglianese lived in the building, that would mean six of the plants would be allowed for personal use.
McConnell recommended that the board deny Coglianese a license. On Tuesday, he said he was headed to Juneau to plead his case before the board.
Robl had prepared a draft memo recommending the city council voice non-objection and approval for Alaska Loven It’s license. Based on the information from the board and the final memo from Robl, the council voted unanimously to object to it. More than one council member remarked that it would not be right for the council to go against the information and recommendation of the board.
In her email, McConnell quoted regulation, adding that cultivation establishments have to make sure their facility “does not emit an odor that is detectable by the public from outside the cultivation facility except as allowed by a local government conditional use permit process.” (3 AAC 306.430(c)(2))
In his application, Coglianese said he would install filters to remove marijuana odors.
Coglianese said he had the plants at his facility in order to get a jump on finalizing the strains he planned to have there once open. He said there is a limited time between license approval and inspection in order to do this.
“I thought it was being responsible in the manner of being prepared for this,” he said.
Coglianese said he was shocked and disappointed at the council’s vote. He’s now 14 months and about $400,000 into his venture. His application includes a lease agreement at $10,000 a month to rent the space from owners Eric and Trina Fellows doing business as Kachemak Properties. Coglianese declined to outline his next steps, saying he doesn’t want to speculate without knowing the fate of his license.
Reach Megan Pacer at firstname.lastname@example.org.