Ketchikan City Council says no to legalizing pot

KETCHIKAN — The Ketchikan City Council has voted against supporting the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Council members voted last week to approve a resolution opposing the general election ballot proposition that would legalize marijuana in Alaska. The resolution urged voters to reject Ballot Proposition 2, the Ketchikan Daily News reports.
The resolution said legalizing recreational marijuana would create public health hazards such as explosions from people making concentrates, or driving under the influence of pot.
The Ketchikan council considered the resolution at the request of Rene Schofield, who is involved with the Substance Abuse Task Force and owns Tongass Substance Screening.
The resolution wasn’t considered alone, but rather it was part of a handful of other decisions in the council’s consent agenda, which was approved as a whole.
Some residents voiced opposition to the resolution.
Eric Muench criticized the decision to put it into the consent agenda.
Not voting on the resolution separately suggested “there could not possibly be any other view to consider,” Muench said, adding that it was an “arrogant assumption.”

Of the resolution itself, he said the City Council should “leave it alone.” Marijuana use is common and “minimally harmful,” Muench said.

City Council members DeAnn Karlson and KJ Harris both said they were undecided about the proposition.

“I’m not saying yea or nay, I just understand how people don’t want to say anything aloud about how they feel one way or another,” Harris said. “That’s kind of where I’m sitting on that thing right now. I’m 51-49; I haven’t made up my mind yet.”

Karlson said she had mixed feelings about the proposition.

“I’ve seen firsthand where it’s a gateway drug for young people to move on to bigger, badder, worse things,” she said. “I can’t help but think when I was younger and my parents all smoked, the first thing I tried to do was steal their cigarettes.”

Having marijuana in more homes would make it more accessible to children, Karlson suggested. However, she also said what goes on in private homes “shouldn’t really be my business.”