Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) is seeking to dissolve the Alaska Marijuana Control Board and the state’s cannabis industry is concerned about the implications, The Anchorage Daily News reports.
Dunleavy’s intentions were laid out in two letters. One to employees of Alaska’s Commerce Department from Julie Anderson, the Commissioner of that department and the second a memo from Erika McConnell, the Director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office.
Dunleavy’s plans are to repeal the Marijuana Control Board as well as the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and consolidate their responsibilities to a single person, the Commissioner of the Commerce Department. The move is part of the Governor’s plan to cut the state’s budget to help reduce the current $1.6 billion deficit.
Chair of the Marijuana Control Board Mark Springer said he has concerns about the move. Consolidating power over cannabis regulations may lead to less openness and public involvement, said Springer. He also pointed out that the voter initiative that legalized cannabis in the state specifically references a Cannabis Control Board.
Cary Carrigan, the executive director of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, said he was also concerned by the move.
“The Dunleavy administration is trying to destroy the marijuana industry in Alaska.” — Cary Carrigan, via Anchorage Daily news
Dunleavy had previously appointed regulators to the three-person Marijuana Control Board who had a history of supporting cannabis prohibition, which also worried the state’s cannabis industry representatives.
Dunleavy’s press secretary Matt Shuckerow explained that, despite the governor’s worrisome goals, “I want to reiterate that Gov. Dunleavy recognizes that recreational marijuana is the law of the land and he has no intention of changing that.”