Alaska governor could be trying to stall recreational marijuana

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The marijuana industry calls for Governor Dunleavy to declare his position on legalized marijuana

Alaska’s marijuana industry isn’t happy with the state’s governor, Mike Dunleavy. Residents in the state may have voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2014, but it appears as though the governor is thwarting attempts to introduce legislation at every turn. He is changing the language in marijuana bills and appointing members to the Marijuana Control Board (MCB) that indicate to the industry that he is not willing to follow the wishes of the people.

One of the concerns regards Senate Bill 32, a crime bill that Dunleavy is behind. In it, possession of more than 25 cannabis plants, or various amounts of marijuana concentrates, would be a felony and the bill does not include any language that would exempt marijuana businesses from being held under the same rules.

That alone has caused Lacy Wilcox, the legislative liaison for the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association (AMIA) to state, “We are looking into the potential legal issue of undoing the people’s vote through legislation and any constitutional implications that may arise. I hope that the Department of Law can work with the Legislature to amend the bill to include specific language that removes ambiguity for law enforcement and alleviates the fears that have arisen in the industry.”

In addition, Dunleavy recently appointed Vivian Stiver to the MCB. Stiver, whose appointment still has to be confirmed, is a long-time opponent to marijuana and is supportive of a number of measures that would roll back the industry. Most recently, after her appointment was announced, she got behind a move that seeks to prevent on-site marijuana use.

The executive director for the AMIA, Cary Carrigan, states, “The fact that Vivian even got this far is bad. If the support is out there for that person you know it, they’re going to show up. We can’t go to a place where it slows the industry down so much that we start losing revenue, losing jobs. If someone puts the brakes on [the industry] that’s going to create a problem where the black market will start to fill back in.”

Carrigan adds, “If this was unintentional, we expect a quick fix from the Dunleavy administration. Gov. Dunleavy has long aligned himself with the concept of states’ rights yet seems to make an exception when it comes to marijuana.”