Alaska marijuana industry concerned about new board member

February 5, 2019 GMT

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Marijuana growers and retailers in Alaska say they’re concerned about Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s plans for the industry following his recent picks for the state marijuana board.

The Republican governor has been quiet on his policies for the state’s legal marijuana industry, but his appointment of Vivian Stiver to the regulatory board has stirred opposition, the Anchorage Daily News reported this week.


Stiver was involved in an unsuccessful 2017 effort to ban marijuana operations in Fairbanks. She was selected to replace Brandon Emmett, an industry representative from Fairbanks.

Marijuana companies and supporters have been urging lawmakers to reject Stiver’s appointment.

“It’s concerning, incredibly disappointing and hurtful because a lot of us supported Dunleavy,” said Jana Weltzin, an Anchorage attorney representing marijuana businesses.

The governor’s pick of Lt. Christopher Jaime, an Alaska Wildlife Trooper, is not causing as much concern within the industry, Weltzin said.

Democratic state Rep. Adam Wool said Stiver’s appointment is an “antagonistic” move that’s setting up for a fight.

Stiver said she is “absolutely not” a prohibitionist of marijuana. Her opposition in 2017 stemmed from the belief that Fairbanks officials were ill prepared for the operation of a legal marijuana industry, she said. Her views have changed.

“It’s a new industry; I’m excited. As far as I can see, it’s working,” Stiver said.

Stiver has not received any communications from the governor’s office about his marijuana policy, she said.

“To my best recollection, I haven’t had anything near a conversation where he stands on this,” Stiver said.

The governor has not made any major marijuana policy announcements in his first two months of office.

“The governor doesn’t want to pick winners and losers,” said Matt Shuckerow, Dunleavy’s press secretary. “He even said on the campaign trail that he doesn’t intend to make changes.”

Stiver’s term on the stare board is scheduled to start March 1.


Information from: Anchorage Daily News,