House panel moves out Pot Board nomination, but not without opposition

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Labor and Commerce Committee in the State House continued its hearing Monday on the confirmation of Vivian Stiver to serve on the Marijuana Control Board.

In the end, the panel agreed to forward her name to the joint session to take up the Governor's nominations to boards and commissions although three members of the seven-member panel said they would not vote to confirm her to the seat.

Stiver's nomination has proved controversial and opposed by the marijuana industry.

She previously chaired an anti-retail cannabis coalition and launched a Fairbanks ballot proposition in 2017 that would have banned any commercial cannabis activity within city limits.   She also lobbied to have on-site consumption banned in Fairbanks in May 2018.

During her closing statement, Stiver told the committee, "The people of Alaska have legalized marijuana.  It is done.  No debate."   She added that regulation should not stunt the growth of this industry."I will look to make decisions on what is in the best interests of the industry, the communities in which they operate and as proscribed by statutory authority," she said.  

Juneau Representative Sara Hannan was among those speaking out against the nomination.  Hannan explained that having on-site consumption is a business growth potential in her communities.

Kodiak Representative Louise Stutes and Zack Fields of Anchorage also said they would oppose her nomination during the joint session.

The board approved new regulations late last year allowing on-site marijuana use at state-licensed dispensaries, but with two new board members against on-site consumption, the board could revisit the issue and reverse their decision.

During a hearing last week, the committee agreed to forward the nomination of Soldotna State Wildlife Trooper Christopher Jaime (Hi-me)  to the joint confirmation session of the Legislature.


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