Bethel says lights out for booze, light up for pot


Bethel voters want stricter rules for alcohol sales in the rural Alaska hub community, but didn’t tighten up when the question was asked about pot.

With a nearly 28 percent voter turnout in this city of 6,456, voters returned to a “local option” status for alcohol sales, restricting sales to restaurant or dining establishments. Voters also said that furnishing alcohol to people under the age of 21 will again be a felony.

People can still bring it into community, but the Caribou Trader Liquor Store is the loser in this vote, as it had recently opened and was selling not only wine and beer, but hard liquor. AC was about to open.

But when it came to marijuana, voters were of a more liberal mind. The question was whether to tighten rules for Bethel that would be stricter than the State of Alaska’s laws. Local communities have the option to do so under state law. Most Bethel voters said no to banning pot.

The questions summarized, and the voter totals, which are not final:

Prop. 1 – Prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages except through a restaurant or eating place license.

Yes – 710 or 61.95 percent

No – 431 or 37.61 percent

Prop. 2: Don’t apply a class C felony to violations of Alaska Statutes for furnishing or delivery of alcoholic beverages to persons under the age of 21.

Yes – 514 or 44.85 percent

No – 611, or 53.32 percent

Prop. 3: Should Bethel prohibit the sale or importation for sale of marijuana and any marijuana product and to prohibit the operation of any marijuana establishment, which includes retail sales, cultivation, manufacturing, testing.

Yes – 541 or 47.21 percent

No – 598 or 52.18 percent


  1. They need to tax alcohol so it is revenue neutral. We shouldn’t be spending tax dollars on a private industry.

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