As communities across Alaska try to figure out how to handle the new legalized marijuana industry, many are opting out.
Among those just saying no is the tiny town of North Pole, and that’s not sitting well with the town’s most famous resident: Santa Claus has put medical marijuana on his “nice” list.
The man who legally changed his name to “Santa Claus” is deeply religious, a monk, and a child advocate. That’s why he changed his name.
“It sounds ridiculous but it’s true. It helps,” Santa says.
He’s served as an elected city council member in North Pole for almost a year.
Before that he worked in government, specializing in security and law enforcement.
“Director of the Terrorism Research Communication Center from ’78 to ’86, and was Chief of Safety and Security for the US Virgin Islands Port Authority, was a member of FEMA’s National Defense Executive Reserve,” he says.
He worked in law enforcement, but also against certain types of prohibition, so maybe it’s not so surprising that his old life is influencing his new one.
Santa is now speaking out against North Pole’s Propostition 7. North Pole residents just voted to outlaw the sale of marijuana in the city limits.
Santa Claus is also a cancer patient, and he uses marijuana to help ease his symptoms.
“I think they are not in this particular instance are not embracing the sprit of love,” he says. “I think what they’re doing is engendering hate, which comes from fear.”
So for now, Santa will have to grow his own, or travel to nearby Fairbanks to purchase marijuana from a dispensary.
And when it comes to whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year, don’t worry.
“Cannabis users will not be getting coal in their stocking unless they’ve done some other thing that might be considered egregious,” Santa says.