- Associated Press - Monday, February 9, 2015

KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) - An informational meeting on marijuana held by Ketchikan city and borough officials drew public support for the upcoming regulation of commercial pot.

Members of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly and Ketchikan City Council held the meeting to give locals an opportunity to express opinions on how marijuana should be regulated on the island, the Ketchikan Daily News (https://is.gd/oVjOZb) reported.

None of the people who testified at the meeting Friday explicitly came out against commercial marijuana. But one speaker, Hannah Ramiskey, said police should not yet retire its drug-detecting dog.

“If that dog spends his time, full-time, at the high school, Schoenbar (Middle School) and any elementary school, that’s a good use for that dog,” Ramiskey said.

Spencer Strassburg, who co-owns The Fox Hole gift store, said he supports allowing marijuana to be sold in Ketchikan.

“We need to regulate this in a responsible manner,” Strassburg said. “We need to take it out of that black market … and put it in the hands of somebody who is responsible. Start to grow a responsible culture here.”

Recreational marijuana becomes legalized this month under a ballot initiative approved in November. Ballot Measure 2 decriminalizes the possession, use and non-sale transfer of up to an ounce of marijuana when the law takes effect Feb. 24. The initiative also set in motion the legalization and permitting of marijuana sales.

For now, the sale of marijuana remains illegal in Alaska, with the state not accepting business applications until February 2016.

Earlier this month, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly postponed a vote on a proposed local ban on commercial marijuana.

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Information from: Ketchikan (Alaska) Daily News, https://www.ketchikandailynews.com

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