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Marijuana business hopefuls take lawsuit against Mat-Su Borough to Alaska Supreme Court


October 4, 2016


WAS
ILLA – 

A couple hoping to start a marijuana business in the Valley is taking their fight against the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to a higher level.

Amy Tuma plans to file a lawsuit at the Alaska Supreme Court Monday. She said Proposition B1 was created using fraudulent methods. The measure, which is on Tuesday’s ballot, would ban marijuana product manufacturing and sales in unincorporated areas of the borough. Because Wasilla and Palmer have already banned such businesses, they would be limited to Houston if the measure succeeds.

Tuma said the petition that secured the proposition’s place on the ballot has several issues.

“I’m not trying to take away the people’s right to vote,” she said. “I’m trying to make it done legally.”

Tuma said the author of the petition signed it twice. Also, many signatures were submitted one day late, but were notarized anyway by someone who signed the petition, which is illegal.

“You are given 90 days, and 20 pages were certified and notarized on the 91st day,” Tuma said.

She said she tried taking her case to the borough, but officials would not hear it until after the election.

“This injunctive relief cannot be granted because it will virtually destroy the Matanuska-Susitna Borough’s ability to conduct a clear and organized election,” said borough attorney Nicholas Spiropoulos in a statement last month.

Tuma said she had no other option but to take the lawsuit to a higher court.

“We don’t have a choice but to take it to Supreme Court because Judge Zwink said that anything that happened right now would disrupt the vote. But that’s the entire point. The vote should have never come in the first place,” Tuma said of Palmer judge David Zwink, who said the lawsuit would be handled after the Oct. 4 election.

Pot business hopefuls in the Valley, including Tuma, have been trying to set up their companies for months. However, the borough suspended licensing for marijuana businesses pending the outcome of Proposition B1, according to Tuma.

“I don’t want to give up on the industry,” she said. “I just want to open the borough’s minds to the possibility of what could go on and limit the fear mongering that’s making them so scared of seeing past what could really be.”

Borough officials did not immediately return KTVA’s phone calls and emails regarding the Supreme Court lawsuit.

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