Budding Industry: Mo Municipality, Mo Problems: Part 2

by Whitney Branshaw in Anchorage Press

What exactly is it about the Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) process that is holding marijuana business up? After some very in-depth research and many upset phone calls, it seems to be that the Title 21 Land Use Code is the root of the issue. Title 21 comes from years and years of developmental history in Anchorage.

“The first zoning ordinance in Anchorage was adopted all the way back in 1946,” says Margret O’Brien, Planner of the Day at the Economic and Community Development Planning Division. “This identified parcels of land that would be affected by zoning. This has been amended throughout the history of Anchorage, as it incorporated other areas of the city. The Greater Anchorage Borough of Anchorage and City of Anchorage merged, becoming the Municipality of Anchorage in 1976. Title 21 has a long and complex history that spans across decades and decades of developing Anchorage.”

When I mention that I’m doing a story on marijuana businesses in Anchorage, she immediately refers me to Erika McConnell down at City Hall.

“Whatever the city’s opinion on the intelligence of these businesses is, the reality is that over 100 businesses have applied to operate in the last 6 months and only a handful are actually operating. To me, that indicates not a failure of the user of the system, but a failure of the system. This is just another sign that the system is inherently flawed.” – Jana Weltzin to Branshaw

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