Cannabis industry concerned by recent moves by governor

Last update: March 8, 2019


Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) sent shockwaves through the state’s adult-use cannabis industry recently by removing Marijuana Control Board Chairman Brandon Emmett from the board and then appointing Vivian Stiver to it. Ms. Stiver is a well-known opponent of the adult-use law in Alaska, and many see the move as an ominous attempt to undermine the voter-approved law. Recent testimony on her appointment has been strongly opposed.

At the same time, the governor has indicated he may dismantle the Marijuana Control Board entirely (along with the agency’s sister regulatory board overseeing the alcohol industry) and transfer authority to the Commerce Department. It is less clear if this proposed change would diminish the program, or, as the governor has suggested, merely streamline government as part of a broad cost-saving measure.

The result of Dunleavy’s action has been uncertainty and concern. These moves follow a victory for cannabis consumers late last year when the Marijuana Control Board adopted rules that would allow on-site consumption at businesses that obtain permission from regulators. Whether those rules remain in effect is unclear.

Alaska lawmakers considering expungement bill


While Alaska voters legalized marijuana back in 2014, many Alaskans find themselves limited by criminal histories that remain frozen in time, even as states continue to update cannabis laws. SB 8 would help protect individuals who got in trouble when laws were different.

Alaska lawmakers have a chance to stop derailing lives for some old cannabis convictions this year. Criminal records can make it difficult to get a job, housing, or further one’s education. Many Alaskans are still haunted by records for conduct that is now legal.

Follow this link to send an email message to your lawmakers in support of Sen. Tom Begich’s sensible measure, SB 8.

SB 8’s record sealing would apply to those who were not charged with any other type of offense and would be limited to marijuana cases involving less than an ounce. The text of the measure is available here.

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