Business owner calls for resignation of 2 Marijuana Control Board members
Big allegations are rising against two members of the state's Marijuana Control Board.
Brandon Emmett and Mick Miller are accused of bias, conflict of interest, and favoritism.
Emmett and Miller are the MCB’s industry representatives and have marijuana businesses of their own.
Phillip Izon, owner of Kushtopia, Alaska, says the rule makers are acting like they are above the law. As a result, he plans to file a formal ethics complaint with the attorney general.
Izon says Emmett and Miller both promoted events catering to public consumption-- which is illegal and something the MCB has issued fines for in the past.
On Facebook, Izon reposted pictures from Good Titrations, a Fairbanks marijuana business owned by Emmett.
“He is using his power to influence who and what is ok. He fines Cannabis Classic and will attempt to fine Alaska Hempfest while promoting hightimes and submitting his thc product for judging.” Izon wrote.
Izon is also calling out Emmett for another picture on Good Titration’s Instagram page, which appears to show Emmett illegally using marijuana in public.
“You are a leader in this industry, you should be following the rules, not be an exception to the rules,” Izon said.
Izon says Miller also broke the rules by advertising a smoking tent at a barbeque for the Anchorage Cannabis Business Association, which he heads.
Miller says the event was private, not public, so he was surprised to hear that someone would ask for his resignation.
Emmett said Tuesday, "For the record I was vaping a legal marijuana product at a private BBQ."
“I don't believe there was a violation,” Miller said. “The ACBA event we held-- we were very deliberate in how we did things to stay within the regulations, so I’m not concerned.”
In a statement released late-Tuesday, Emmett called Izon's accusations an attempt to defame him and says the cannabis community should stand together.
It is unfortunate that we live in a society where cannabis use is still highly stigmatized, even after it’s legalization. I’ll be the first to admit that a picture of an MCB member consuming marijuana products in a place that could potentially be public can stir emotion. That is after all, a violation punishable by a fine of $100. What saddens me about these individuals’ choice to defame me is not their rhetoric, but their profane lack of ability to see that the cannabis community should stand together to champion the rights we all deserve. Vaping at a bbq is something we all enjoy, just like having a beer with friends.
Public consumption accusations aside, I’d like to address the insinuation that I’m somehow out to get these individuals and the cannabis themed events they are associated with. I am not. If you examine my record you will see that I have spoken out against our current definition of “public” as I find it too restrictive. I’ve also championed onsite consumption regulations. Regulations which have received a nod from the legislature and are slated to be voted upon by the board in August.
I believe at the core of their issue is the fact that these individuals have received fines for holding public events that promoted onsite consumption. As a board member it is my duty to uphold the law regardless of personal belief, even if those laws are unpopular. My proposal to suspend the majority of a fine levied was done with the intention of the experience being a learning lesson and to allow their organization the opportunity to hold events in the future. The fine could have been much worse had I offered no compromise and simply voted against what was initially proposed. I thought I had made that last part clear.
I’d like this experience to be a growth opportunity for all parties. Follow the laws, work to change the ones which are unjust and be careful about what you put on the internet. You never know who might be watching.
Izon says he would like to see Emmett and Miller resign from the MCB, or at very least, apologize for what he believes is unethical behavior.
Miller says when a formal complaint is issued against a member of the MCB, it is taken very seriously.
He says a separate board will meet to look at the issue and make a final determination.
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