AT ISSUE: IS CANNABIS REGULATOR MAKING ALASKA OPEN FOR BUSINESS?
Erika McConnell, the executive director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office by the Marijuana Control Board during today’s meeting in Anchorage.
The vote was 3-2, with Board Chairman Mark Springer and Juneau board member Loren Jones voting to retain her, while Bruce Schulte, Nicholas Miller, and Christopher Jaime all voted no confidence.
Last month, the Alcohol Beverage Control Board voted unanimously to release McConnell for performance and character issues. McConnell runs both the alcohol agency and the marijuana office and it took both boards to fire her. It’s unclear the timing of her departure.
At today’s meeting before the discussion of McConnell’s performance, several industry members took aim at the staff of the agency for seeming to prioritize enforcement, but communicating regulations poorly to industry, not putting things in writing but giving out rules verbally, and sitting on permit applications.
Those testifying said that they and others had invested their entire family fortunes and retirements into their enterprises and found dealing with the agency difficult because they feel they are treated as though they are criminals.
Board Chairman Mark Springer disputed that characterization and said the agency is overworked and needs more money from the Dunleavy Administration.