Anchorage assemblyman proposes ban on pot discounts for active military

Anchorage Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar says Anchorage pot shops shouldn't be allowed to offer discounts to active members of the U.S. military as long as buying pot jeopardizes a soldier's job.

An ordinance Dunbar plans to introduce to the Assembly on Tuesday spells out a broad ban on offering or advertising discounts on pot products for active soldiers in Anchorage. That includes glass pipes or other paraphernalia, Dunbar said.

[See a copy of Dunbar's proposed ordinance here.] 

Discounts for military veterans won't be affected by the proposal. Dunbar said his measure is only targeted at active service members who could be fired for possessing marijuana.

"We're trying to prevent the young soldiers in the Army from being enticed into thinking it's legal for them to do this," Dunbar, an attorney and captain in the Alaska Army National Guard, said in a recent interview.

Dunbar said he is not aware of any examples in Anchorage or in Alaska where a soldier bought discounted pot and got in trouble. But he said Alaska military commanders alerted him to instances in other states where pot is legal.

The military's policy is strict. In December 2015, lip balm being distributed by a military office at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson was thrown out after officials discovered it contained hemp seed oil. The military bans hemp seed products, which contain trace amounts of THC, the primary active chemical ingredient in marijuana.


Dunbar's proposed prohibition would end if the federal government decides to allow soldiers to use cannabis without the threat of being kicked out, according to the ordinance.  

Assembly vice-chair Dick Traini, who is retired from the U.S. Air Force, is co-sponsoring the ordinance with Dunbar.

A public hearing date on the ordinance will be set at Tuesday's Assembly meeting.

Devin Kelly

Devin Kelly was an ADN staff reporter.