Cannabis North

Alaska's ABC Board director among 'key people to watch' in marijuana policy, says D.C. think tank

Alaska's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board director, Cynthia Franklin, was named Monday by the Brookings Institution as one of 12 people to watch in marijuana policy.

Franklin is listed by the Washington, D.C.-based think tank alongside U.S. Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, among others, in an article by John Hudak posted Monday.

Hudak writes that the list includes people "who each bring something interesting to the table and may play an important role in the future of this policy area."

Franklin, kept busy this legislative session testifying on aspects of Alaska's developing marijuana laws, will oversee the Marijuana Control Board that was approved by the Legislature last weekend.

"Under the new law, Franklin will help design and implement marijuana regulations and will influence the success of legal marijuana in the Frontier State through a new institution devoted solely to administering marijuana policy," Hudak writes.

The article notes Alaska-specific challenges to regulating marijuana, including unique local-option laws, transportation limitations and the amount of federal land in Alaska, on which marijuana remains illegal.

Alaska is the "most conservative and Republican of legalizing states thus far," Hudak writes, but he notes that the state has a lengthy history of "more progressive" marijuana policy, starting with the 1975 Alaska Supreme Court decision in Ravin v. State protecting residents' right to have small amounts of marijuana at home.


Another state-level policymaker, Oregon Liquor Control Commission chair Rob Patridge, is also named as a key player by Brookings.

The list also includes Dan Riffle, director of federal programs at the Marijuana Policy Project and "one of the nation's leading pro-legalization lobbyists," and Kevin Sabet, president and CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, "one of the most effective spokespeople in opposition" to marijuana legalization.

Laurel Andrews

Laurel Andrews was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in October 2018.