Matanuska-Susitna Borough

Borough files response on first pot lawsuit

Mat-Su | Patty Sullivan | Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Failing to count the votes on a ballot proposition would wreak havoc on the Matanuska-Susitna Borough's Oct. 4 election, Borough Attorney Nicholas Spiropoulos argued Monday, in a 135-page response to a lawsuit against the Borough.

The suit against the Borough was filed by future commercial pot developers to challenge a citizen proposition on the ballot that asks voters whether to ban the commercialization of marijuana in the Borough outside the cities.

Spiropoulos wrote in his opposition,

 “This injunctive relief cannot be granted because it will virtually destroy the Matanuska-Susitna Borough’s ability to conduct a clear and organized election. Plaintiff’s requests will jeopardize the accuracy and results of all other questions on the ballot, cause confusion, and disrupt the orderly conduct of the 2016 Borough regular election.”

Read Spiropoulos’ full answer and opposition posted here.

In Nov. 2014, Alaska voters approved Ballot Measure 2, a new statute that allows marijuana businesses. Local municipalities have been reacting to the State law with their own legislation. In this case, citizens filed the petition to ask voters to oppose the sale of marijuana and industry-related activity in the Borough. Marijuana business proponents are challenging that effort.

Plaintiffs Thomas Hannam and Ronda Marcy filed this first lawsuit challenging the ballot initiative being placed on the Borough ballot. A Borough answer to a second lawsuit on the citizen initiative is due Sept. 29. See the former press release with both lawsuits posted here.

The Borough clerk certified the petitioned initiative a year ago and placed it on this year’s ballot. Absentee voting began Monday.

Spiropoulos raised the doctrine of latches defense on the request for permanent injunction.

“The doctrine of latches creates an equitable defense when the party delays asserting a claim for an unconscionable period. A court must find both an unreasonable delay in seeking relief and resulting prejudice to the defendant,” the Borough opposition states.

For more information contact the Borough Attorney office at 861-8679 or Public Affairs Director Patty Sullivan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 861-8577.