Gov. Mike Dunleavy's nominee for the state Marijuana Control Board faced state lawmakers Wednesday, who grilled her regarding her alleged opposition to the pot industry.

Vivian Stiver appeared before the House Labor and Commerce Committee. Stiver, a former Fairbanks City Council member, chaired an anti-marijuana coalition and launched a failed ballot proposition that could have banned commercial cannabis within city limits.

“Do you feel like you can truly be impartial and not let your personal objections participate in your decision-making on this board?” asked Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak.

“I have personal views, I do, and they get set aside,” Stiver said. “My job is to represent the public like I did many times before and listen to the public; listen to what they say, not always how they say it, but what they are saying to me. I don’t think I will have any problem representing a business fairly.”

Stiver's appointment to the board was met with outrage from the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, amid claims – repeatedly denied by Stiver – that she is a prohibitionist who wants to halt the industry's progress. AMIA has also joined forces with hospitality-industry group Alaska CHARR against Dunleavy's proposal to repeal the MCB, along with the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, as a cost-cutting measure.

The committee also heard testimony from members of the public, including former MCB industry representative Brandon Emmett whom Stiver would replace. He says he is against her appointment to the board.

“Ms. Stiver has gone on record multiple times to deride marijuana and its affects as a scourge on our society, often spreading misinformation about the potential for drunk drivers and teen consumption contrary to data provided by state agencies,” Emmett told the committee.  

The deciding vote on whether Stiver will be appointed to the board will occur during a joint session of the state House and Senate.  She needs 31 of the Legislature's 60 votes to get the job.

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