Dunleavy eyes repeal of alcohol, pot boards

Dunleavy eyes repeal of alcohol, pot boards

  • By BECKY BOHRER Associated Press
  • Monday, February 18, 2019 11:30pm
  • News

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

National Weather Service radar for the Kenai Peninsula and Southcentral Alaska on Aug. 17, 2022. (Screenshot)
Rain, rain and more rain

Low pressure systems drive wet conditions in Southcentral

Sockeye salmon return to Steep Creek to spawn. Alaska’s overall commercial salmon harvest across all species is currently up 15% from 2021 (2020 for pinks) with Bristol Bay and the Prince William Sound largely carrying the weight while other regions lag, according to data from the most recent Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute weekly salmon harvest update. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Statewide salmon harvest on the upswing compared to last year

Bristol Bay and Prince William Sound are mainly pulling the weight

Jake Dye / Peninsula Clarion
Congressional candidate Mary Peltola responds to a question during a forum at the Kenai Visitor Center on Aug. 3 in Kenai . Early Wednesday, Peltola had earned 38.4% of first-choice votes in a race that will determine who fills Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat until January.
Mary Peltola responds to a question during a forum at the Kenai Visitor Center on Aug. 3, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion/Jake Dye)
Democratic candidate Peltola leads U.S. House race early, but Palin may win in final count

Former governor and Republican U.S. House candidate Sarah Palin stands to benefit from ranked choice voting

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID hospitalizations on the rise

86 patients were hospitalized with 10 patients on ventilators

2022 gubernatorial candidate Charlie Pierce walks in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Pierce among leaders in governor’s race

Incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy leads the pack overall

Braeden Garrett holds signs supporting Alaska House of Representatives candidate Justin Ruffridge at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling highways on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Ruffridge, Babcock lead in early primary results

Unofficial preliminary primary election results showed significant margins between the first- and second-place candidates

Pollworkers Carol Louthan (center) and Harmony Bolden (right) work at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Local voters cast ballots, try out ranked choice

Locally, multiple candidates have their sights set on seats in the Alaska Legislature.

U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka joins Donald Trump on stage during a rally at the Alaska Airlines Center on July 9, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. Tshibaka is seeking to become one of four candidates to advance in the U.S. Senate race during Alaska’s primary election Tuesday, Aug. 16. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP, File)
U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka joins Donald Trump on stage during a rally at the Alaska Airlines Center on July 9, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. Tshibaka is seeking to become one of four candidates to advance in the U.S. Senate race during Alaska’s primary election Tuesday, Aug. 16. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP, File)
Murkowski advances in Senate race, Palin in House

Kelly Tshibaka, her GOP rival endorsed by former President Donald Trump, was among the candidates bound for the November general election

Most Read