The Anchorage Assembly voted Tuesday night that Assembly member Patrick Flynn can participate in most types of votes on licenses for pot businesses — but not commercial grow operations, since he himself is an investor in one.
The Assembly narrowly ruled in July that Flynn should sit out all votes on marijuana licenses. Members of the majority said it wasn't appropriate for Flynn to decide the fate of competitors in a burgeoning industry.
But some Assembly members wanted to reconsider the vote, and members of the nascent marijuana industry sent a letter arguing Flynn should be able to participate, in part because he is downtown's only representative.
Flynn had previously disclosed his business interest. He is one of 11 investors in a company called Great Northern Cannabis Inc., which filed an application for a commercial grow operation on July 9. He owns a 5.7 percent stake in the business, records show.
Flynn said at Tuesday's meeting the company's application has been approved by the state.
As far as whether he had a conflict of interest, the Assembly voted 7-3 on Tuesday, with Flynn abstaining, in favor of a compromise: Flynn could participate in votes on licenses for marijuana retail, testing and manufacturing, but he was ruled to have a conflict on cultivation licenses.
"It's largely based on the 'first mover' argument," Assembly member Forrest Dunbar, who previously voted against Flynn participating in all marijuana license votes, said at Tuesday's meeting. "I feel like this compromise allows us to avoid that."
Assembly member Bill Starr supported the compromise, but said he still didn't think Flynn had a conflict when it came to commercial grow licenses. But when Assembly member John Weddleton tried to propose an alternative measure that would allow Flynn to vote on those types of licenses, Flynn indicated he wouldn't support it, and Weddleton dropped the proposal.