By Becky Bohrer
JUNEAU— The chairman of the board that regulates legal marijuana in Alaska, who also is a critic of Gov. Mike Dunleavy, said he was caught off guard by news that Dunleavy was replacing him.
“You may quote me as saying I learned about this from The Associated Press,” Mark Springer said late Wednesday. Dunleavy spokesman Jeff Turner said by email that Casey Dschaak of Dillingham will replace Springer on the Marijuana Control Board, with a term set to begin March 1. Dunleavy also re-appointed Christopher Jaime to the five-member board, his office announced Wednesday. Jaime holds the public safety seat.
Both Jaime and Springer had terms set to expire March 1, according to the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office website. Springer, the board’s chairman, has held the board’s rural member seat. He is from Bethel. Turner said he had no information on why Springer is being replaced. He said he would have to check if the administration reached out to Springer before Wednesday’s announcement.
Springer said he has had phone issues, but “I’m not an impossible person to track down.” He said he hadn’t seen anything in his email from Dunleavy’s office.
Springer said he had expressed interest in continuing to serve on the board. “I wrote a pretty comprehensive letter to the governor seeking reappointment but maybe he follows me on Twitter,” he said, adding later that he supports the effort underway aimed at recalling Dunleavy from office. Springer was one of two members in November who voted against Erika McConnell’s firing as director. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which shared McConnell as its director, had previously voted for her dismissal. Both boards had to agree for her to be removed.
Springer said it has been a privilege to serve on the board, which he said has done important work since its inception. The Marijuana Control Board is scheduled to meet next week in Juneau. The board chooses among its members a chairman.
• By BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press