Alaska cannabis industry concerned by uncertainty; Dunleavy recognizes legal marijuana

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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Recent actions taken by Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy have some in the legal cannabis industry confused about his intentions.

Dunleavy made new appointments to the board tasked with regulating the industry even as he has eyed repealing the board. His appointment of Vivian Stiver, a marijuana critic, has riled industry members who have cast her as a prohibitionist. The board began a three-day meeting Wednesday in Juneau.

Industry leaders say language in one of Dunleavy's crime bills would make it a felony to possess 25 or more cannabis plants, which they say could affect legal growers.

However, a Department of Law spokeswoman says the provision is not directed at legal growers and the administration is open to clarifying that.

Marijuana advocate Lacy Wilcox says Dunleavy should meet with the industry.

A spokesman for Gov. Dunleavy says Dunleavy recognizes that broad use of marijuana is legal in Alaska and has no intention of changing that.

Matt Shuckerow also says Dunleavy has no desire to push the industry in one direction or the other.

Shuckerow says repealing the board would require legislative approval and it's important to have a functioning board as that process plays out.

Other states handle cannabis regulation at the agency level. Further details on what Dunleavy is planning are expected when he introduces the repeal legislation.

An attorney who specializes in cannabis law says it is important to save the board tasked with regulating Alaska's legal marijuana industry.

Jana Weltzin addressed the Marijuana Control Board during a general public comment session on Wednesday.

Weltzin said she is concerned that public input on matters affecting the industry could be diminished under the proposal.

The board itself did not delve into the discussion.

Meanwhile, Dunleavy's public safety appointee to the board, Christopher Jaime, was out-of-state and unable to attend what would have been his first board meeting.