During their May 14 meeting, the Bethel Planning Commission tabled the public hearing for a permit to open a third marijuana store. The store would be located in the Q2 Quick Foods building.
Commission chair Kathy Hanson said that she tabled the item because she had received new information from store owner Kalla Peacock just ahead of the meeting. Hanson said that the public and the commission needed more time to digest the new information, but did not specify what the information was.
In the meeting, two residents of Bethel’s Trailer Court, where the proposed store is set to open, spoke out against it. One resident, Elizabeth Alexie, is a single mother who said that she didn’t want a marijuana store to open near her kids. She sent a letter to the commission which Hanson read aloud.
"I would like to express great concern with the proposed pot shop at the Q2. I’m not against these stores in our town or the peoples’ right to choose, but they absolutely do not belong in high population neighborhoods of town,” wrote Alexie.
Currently, Bethel has two retail marijuana stores: Kusko Kush and ALASKABuds. The owners of both have signed a joint letter opposing a third store in Bethel, saying that it will hurt their businesses. Unlike liquor stores in Alaska, retail marijuana stores are not limited by population. The public hearing of the conditional use permit for the third proposed retail marijuana store has been postponed until June 10.