Fairbanks City Council approves ‘cannabis cafes’

The Fairbanks City Council voted Monday to allow consumption of marijuana at authorized cannabis shops in town.

The council voted 4-to-2 to adopt an ordinance that would amend the City Code and allow so-called “cannabis cafes” to sell customers a small amount of marijuana for consumption on-site. Council members David Pruhs and Valerie Therrien voted yes on the measure, joining Shoshana Kun and Kathryn Ottersten, who introduced and cosponsored the measure.

Jerry Cleworth and June Rogers dissented.

The vote came after the council turned back a substitute ordinance to refer the issue to voters this fall, with Mayor Jim Matherly breaking the tie to defeat the measure.

Also Monday, the council recognized outgoing city police Chief Eric Jewkes, for his service to the department and the city.

“It takes a special kind of person to serve as a police officer,” Matherly said, thanking Jewkes, who’s served as chief since he replaced Randall Aragon in 2016.

“It’s my honor and I’m very humbled to congratulate Eric on his 25 years and his retirement. Please join me in thanking him,” Matherly said. “(It) takes a special kind of person to serve as a police officer.”

The council then voted unanimously to confirm Anchorage Police Lieutenant Nancy Reeder as the new chief of the Fairbanks Police Department. Reeder was traveling out-of-state and unavailable for comment.

Tim Ellis is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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