Anchorage Assembly Passes Ban on Pot Discounts for Service Members

FILE - This Jan. 18, 2017 photo shows marijuana including the store's best-seller, Gorilla Glue, available for sale at Rainforest Farms, owned by James and Giono Barrett in Juneau, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
FILE - This Jan. 18, 2017 photo shows marijuana including the store's best-seller, Gorilla Glue, available for sale at Rainforest Farms, owned by James and Giono Barrett in Juneau, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

Anchorage pot shops are now barred from offering discounts to active members of the U.S. military as long as buying pot jeopardizes a soldier's job through an ordinance passed by the Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday night.

The sponsor of the measure, Assembly member Forrest Dunbar, an attorney and officer in the Alaska Army National Guard, said his goal was protecting soldiers.

Though no Anchorage shops have indicated plans to offer discounts, Dunbar said he'd fielded plenty of confused questions as a judge advocate about the conflict between state and federal laws on pot.

The vote was 8-3, with Assembly members Patrick Flynn, Amy Demboski and Bill Evans casting "no" votes. Flynn, Demboski and Evans all said they found the measure too paternalistic.

Soldiers know the rules, said Evans, who served as a paratrooper in the Army. Federal law forbids active-duty service members from consuming or possessing marijuana.

"If they would be swayed from that by a discount at a marijuana store in order to risk their career, they probably should be weeded out anyway," Evans said, to a few chuckles.

Dunbar's ordinance is a broad ban on offering or advertising discounts on pot products for active-duty soldiers in Anchorage, including glass pipes or other paraphernalia. Discounts could still be offered to military veterans.

The prohibition would end if the federal government decides to allow soldiers to use cannabis without the threat of being kicked out.

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Crime Legislation