MCB Chair: Sessions memo not only reason for resignation
He resigned just hours after Attorney General Jeff Sessions deemed the marijuana industry illegal, but the chair of the Marijuana Control Board says there was another issue weighing on him -- discrepancies in the amount of THC found in marijuana products across the state.
Peter Mlynarik, who's also the Soldotna Police Chief, says that issue was important to him. So much so that he was already thinking about resigning when the Sessions Memo came out.
"I think there needs to be an independent lab," Mlynarik said in an interview at the Soldotna Police Dept. Wednesday.
Right now, there are just two private testing labs in the state, and results on the same product can sometimes be dramatically different-- in some cases by more than 100 percent. That means users might be getting more of the high-inducing part of the plant than a product label suggests.
"I was more of the thought that something drastic should be done, like, let's stop before we turn out anything else and make sure that we find out what the problem is," Mlynarik said.
But the Marijuana Control Board disagreed.
"The board made the decision to allow things to continue, and so we're trying to move forward to bring resolution to this as soon as possible," said Erika McConnell, chair of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office (AMCO).
McConnell says she does agree with Mlynarik on the need for independent testing.
"That is something that I would like to see and I think is important, but AMCO doesn't have its own lab. So, ultimately, we don't have control over a lab, so we have to partner with our other agencies."
For now, the board has put out a notice to consumers that what you see may not be what you're getting.
Despite the uncertainty there, and at the federal level, the Marijuana Control Board will continue work as usual-- now, with one less member.
McConnell says AMCO is working to conduct an audit on both testing facilities to identify what might be causing discrepancies. She also says she hopes to convene a working group on the issue next week.
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