Another glitch delays fix for Valley's marijuana 'loophole'

PALMER — The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly planned to fix a loophole in new marijuana regulations on Tuesday night.

Instead, a new glitch delayed until next month any decision on an amendment to code that exempts businesses in special land-use districts — like those in Talkeetna and Sutton — from having to apply for conditional-use permits required for marijuana operations.

The delay drew fire from frustrated entrepreneurs and community critics alike who showed up at a meeting expecting the fix to pass. Instead, they arrived to find that a parliamentary mistake — a meeting notice hadn't been published correctly — had pushed a hearing and Assembly vote to January.

"I'm at a loss how to proceed tonight," said Joe McAneney, a Talkeetna resident who hopes to open a dispensary on Main Street and is waiting for the amendment to pass before filing paperwork.

McAneney expects the state Marijuana Control Board to approve his state license in early February. Now he may have to wait nearly a month before handing in borough paperwork, which could delay his business opening by at least two weeks.

"That's a lot of revenue," he said. "I feel at least I'm owed an answer, an explanation how to proceed with my business."

Geri McCann doesn't like the proposed location of McAneney's store but shared his condemnation, calling the process "a series of letdowns and setups for Talkeetna."

Only one business — a grow operation outside of town — falls under the loophole now, officials say.

Zaz Hollander

Zaz Hollander is a veteran journalist based in the Mat-Su and is currently an ADN local news editor and reporter. She covers breaking news, the Mat-Su region, aviation and general assignments. Contact her at