BETHEL — Sponsored protests could stop two Alaska cannabis companies from opening despite having approved licenses, city officials said.
The state Marijuana Control Board recently approved licenses for two marijuana stores, but Bethel City Council has delayed the businesses' openings citing city code violations, KYUK-AM reported Thursday.
Bethel Mayor Fred Watson has sponsored conditional licenses protests for Alaska Grown Cannabis and Kusko Kush both located about 400 miles (644 kilometers) west of Anchorage. Alaska Grown Cannabis does not meet the city's zoning regulations and Kusko Kush has violated city codes, Watson said.
If the licensees comply with city regulations, officials would withdraw their protest, city officials said.
A marijuana store licensed to Alaskan Grown Cannabis earlier in the year was protested because the proposed location was deemed unsafe by Acting City Manager Bill Howell, the station reported.
Kusko Kush, owned by Essenkay, LLC, was approved by the state and signed a lease with the city in April, officials said.
However, "Essenkay does not have site control, so we cannot issue a conditional use permit," said acting city manager Bo Foley. "We cannot lease land to a business that is federally illegal."
The city did not know before signing the lease that the land would be used to open a marijuana store, he said.
"We were given an intent of what the business would be up front, and that changed midway," Foley said.
AlaskaBUDS was the first store to apply in Bethel and receive all its licenses, but it has yet to open, the station reported.
The Green Store applied for a conditional use permit but has not obtained a state-approved license yet.