Pot industry questions Dunleavy's Control Board pick
The Alaska Marijuana Industry Association (AMIA) is asking Gov. Mike Dunleavy to reconsider one of his appointees to the state's Marijuana Control Board (MCB), calling her a prohibitionist who wants to halt the industry's progress.
"The question is, why so early in the tenure of this administration are we trying to act so forcefully against the industry which has provided revenue, which has acted responsibly and which has done everything that has been asked of us?" asked Cary Carrigan, AMIA's executive director.
The governor's press secretary, Matt Shuckerow, wrote in an email that it is no secret that appointee Vivian Stiver holds skepticism for legal marijuana use, but that it is that viewpoint that landed her a spot on the board.
Stiver, a former Fairbanks City Council member, chaired an anti-retail-marijuana coalition and launched a failed ballot proposition that could have banned commercial cannabis within city limits. She objected to the industry's claims Friday.
"It's a two-way conversation, right? The public needs to know about the industry and the industry needs to know about the public," Stiver said. "We can't go back and make [marijuana] illegal. That is not a goal, that is not an objective, and that's nowhere on my radar."
Dunleavy believes, according to Shuckerow, that Stiver's appointment will bring valuable perspective to the board as members examine critical issues and regulations, such as on-site consumption.
"The governor and his administration has been clear that they are not looking to pick winners and losers," Shuckerow wrote. "They recognize that legal marijuana is the law of the land, and will do their part to enforce the law, but also want to give concerned Alaskans — as the law intended — a voice in the decision-making process."
State law calls for the five-member MCB to be made up of representatives from five different categories: law enforcement, rural Alaska, health, industry, and the general public. If approved, she will become the first member of the general public appointed to the board.
Stiver is on track to replace industry representative Brandon Emmett, whose three-year term ends next month. Before she can fill the seat, she must first be confirmed by the Legislature.
AMIA still wants the job to go to someone else, however, and is calling on the governor to act.
"What would happen if he took the Fish and Wildlife Board, got rid of all the members and put members of [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] in their place?" Carrigan asked. "They would say no to everything; what would the hunting and fishing community say to that?"
Stiver is not the only new appointee to the MCB.
Lt. Christopher Jaime, an Alaska Wildlife Trooper from Soldotna, was picked by the governor to fill the board's public-safety seat, a seat most recently filled by Sitka Police Chief Jeff Ankerfelt, a midterm appointment by Gov. Bill Walker who was never confirmed by the Legislature.
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