Dunleavy eyes repeal of alcohol, pot boards

Dunleavy eyes repeal of alcohol, pot boards

JUNEAU — Gov. Mike Dunleavy wants to repeal the boards tasked with regulating alcohol and marijuana in Alaska, according to documents from state officials.

The plan was outlined in a letter to commerce department employees by commissioner Julie Anderson and in a memo from Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office director Erika McConnell.

The documents say Dunleavy wants to repeal the Marijuana Control Board and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and transfer authority and responsibilities of the boards to the commissioner. This is billed as a way to reduce the “regulatory burden in efforts to expand entrepreneurialism.”

Dunleavy spokesman Matt Shuckerow said further details will be released when legislation addressing the boards is introduced. But he said Dunleavy is looking at ways to find efficiencies in government.

Shuckerow said other states regulate these industries at the agency level and allow for public engagement.

Mark Springer, chairman of the Marijuana Control Board, said he is concerned about the openness and level of public involvement in the regulatory process if rules governing the industry are drafted administratively instead of by a board. He said the board takes pride in the record it has established on decisions it has made.

Springer also noted that the 2014 voter-approved initiative legalizing so-called recreational use of marijuana by those 21 years of age and older referenced establishment of a Marijuana Control Board.

Both the alcohol and marijuana control boards serve important purposes in protecting the health and safety of Alaska residents, Springer said.

Meanwhile, McConnell said in her memo that the state Department of Public Safety had terminated her office’s access to databases for crime reporting and information needed for enforcement officers to conduct thorough investigations. She writes that this has hampered investigators in their enforcement duties and compromised safety because investigators are unable to identify individuals flagged as a risk to officer safety.

Investigators often make unscheduled visits to sites in response to complaints or tips, McConnell wrote.

“With no access to these databases, the investigators may go to interview someone who is subject to a warrant or possibly armed and dangerous, without having any warning or information,” McConnell wrote.

The Department of Public Safety has indicated it is concerned the FBI will strip the state’s access to the databases if marijuana regulators use them since marijuana is illegal on the federal level, she said. But she said the department has not asked the FBI if there is a problem and the FBI did not in a 2017 audit flag any issues with marijuana regulators accessing criminal justice information.

The department has agreed to provide requested information for specific investigations but that arrangement is unworkable, McConnell wrote.


• By BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press


More in News

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Anchor Point house fire leaves one dead, one in serious condition

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Snow and debris from an avalanche can be seen near Mile 45 on the Seward Highway on Monday, March 29, 2021. (Photo courtesy Goldie Shealy)
Center promotes avalanche awareness

The Chugach Avalanche Center in Girdwood will begin its daily forecasts Saturday.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Historic sockeye run predicted for Bristol Bay

ADF&G says 2022 run could break this year’s record

The entrance to the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in the Tongass National Forest was covered in snow on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, a day after federal authorities announced the next step in restoring the 2001 Roadless Rule on the forest. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Feds put freeze on Roadless Rule rollback

On the Roadless Rule again.

tease
Alaska man pleads not guilty to threatening 2 US senators

If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison.

Commercial fishing vessels are seen here on the Kenai River on July 10, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Fishing industry takes a hit during pandemic

Overall fish harvesting jobs in Alaska dropped by the widest margin since 2000 — 14.1% — in 2020.

FILE - The Olympic rings stand atop a sign at the entrance to the Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, Calif., on July 8, 2020. U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, declared "squaw" to be a derogatory term and said she is taking steps to remove the term from federal government use and to replace other derogatory place names. The popular California ski resort changed its name to Palisades Tahoe earlier this year. (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)
Interior secretary seeks to rid U.S. of derogatory place names

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday formally declared… Continue reading

Most Read