The five members who will make up Alaska's first Marijuana Control Board were named Wednesday morning by Gov. Bill Walker.
The Marijuana Control Board is tasked with crafting Alaska's regulations surrounding legalized recreational and commercial marijuana. The board is made up of volunteers and will function under the auspices of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, sharing the staff and resources of the agency.
Walker said in a release the appointees "bring with them decades of experience in public health, business development and rural issues. With their different backgrounds and diverse skill sets, they will help shepherd in regulations for this new industry."
Also included in the release was an estimate by the Department of Revenue that tax revenues in the first year of commercial marijuana sales will generate between $5.1 million to $19.2 million.
Each Marijuana Control Board member represents a different sector -- public safety, public health, rural Alaska, the marijuana industry and one person from either the marijuana industry or general public. A total of 132 Alaskans applied for the five seats.
Two members from the marijuana industry were chosen during this initial selection; during the next round, a member of the general public may be chosen in place of a second marijuana industry seat.
Public safety: Peter Mlynarik, chief of police in Soldotna since 2012. Mlynarik served with Alaska State Troopers for more than 20 years before joining the Soldotna Police Department, according to the release. "His years in Alaska law enforcement makes him exceptionally qualified to understand the public safety issues associated with this developing industry," the release states.
Public health: Loren Jones. Jones is City and Borough of Juneau Assembly member who was director of the Alaska Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, which is now part of the Division of Behavioral Health. He "has a long history in the substance abuse and mental health arenas," according to the release.
Rural seat: Mark Springer. Springer is a member of the Bethel City Council and is active with the Alaska Municipal League. He's lived in Alaska since 1976 and has conducted local government work in rural Alaska communities.
Marijuana industry: Bruce Schulte and Brandon Emmett, both of the Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Legislation, will fill two seats. Schulte, an Anchorage resident, regularly testified on marijuana bills during the legislative session. Schulte is a commercial pilot and registered architect. Emmett is a Fairbanks resident who is the executive director of the Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Legislation and is involved with the Fairbanks North Star Borough's Marijuana Work Group.
The board has until Nov. 24 to craft regulations, which will be rolled out in waves.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the amount of potential tax revenue the state may collect from commercial marijuana sales due to an error within a press release. The numbers have been updated to reflect accurate information.
Alaska Dispatch Publishing