Alaska Marijuana Control Office reacts to federal policy shift

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Alaska Marijuana Control Board chair Peter Mlynarik announced his resignation from the Board on Thursday.

In his resignation letter, Mlynarik cites, “The recent news concerning U.S. Attorney Sessions rescinding the Cole Memorandum,” which shielded state-legalized marijuana from federal prosecution.

"At this time I do not see any legal authority for the State to continue with commercial marijuana facilities," Mlynarik explained in a letter addressed to AMCO Director Erika McConnell. "Therefore, I do not think it is appropriate for me to be involved in the regulation and control of commercial marijuana."

His secondary reason for leaving stems from "recent issues that have caused [him] concern." An example he provides is inconsistency of the labs.

Currently, Mlynarik serves as Soldotna’s Chief of Police.

Mlynarik was elected as chairman of the regulatory board in June 2017, and he was appointed to the board by Gov. Bill Walker in July 2015. Prior to his resignation, his seat was originally set to expire in February 2020.

With the Cole Memorandum rescinded, many Alaskans are left wondering what will happen to businesses in the industry. Recreational marijuana use was legalized statewide in 2014, and the first pot shops opened for business soon after.

Friday, the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office said it does not have any new information for licensees and applicants.

"The Department of Law is still working to evaluate what the impact of rescinding the Cole Memorandum will be for Alaska," writes AMCO on its website's homepage. "AMCO will continue to implement state law in close conjunction with the Department of Law, and as new information is available, will make every effort to inform licensees and the public."

The office also reminds the public that AMCO cannot provide legal advice to applicants or licensees.

"[AMCO] cannot advise individuals on whether they should continue their applications or alter their business practices," adds the office.

[MAP: See where legal marijuana is sold around Alaska]

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