Vivian Stiver claims she's not trying to make marijuana illegal

Published: Jan. 28, 2019 at 8:57 PM AKST
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As Governor Mike Dunleavy continues to announce appointments to various boards and commissions, one appointment from Fairbanks has garnered some attention. Dunleavy chose Vivian Stiver to represent the public on the Marijuana Control Board, replacing one of the industry seat holders, Brandon Emmett.

The first appointments to the Marijuana Control Board were by Governor Bill Walker in July of 2015, including industry member Brandon Emmett. Due to the new administration, Emmett was recently told he would not be continuing on after his term ends in February. Emmett says he doesn't think that this decision is consistent with the Governor's campaign promises to create jobs and fight crime.

"If he were to appoint someone from the public who was cautiously optimistic, I could support that, but having someone who has a track record of trying to keep cannabis illegal or make it illegal again, I don't feel that that represents the majority of the public in Alaska," said Emmett.

Emmett's replacement, Vivian Stiver is criticized for her efforts on a Fairbanks initiative to ban marijuana businesses from the city. Stiver says the initiative was not aiming to make marijuana illegal in Fairbanks but allow the city to opt out for two years until city officials were prepared to handle the new industry. She says she is not against the industry and does not intend to use her potential seat to make marijuana illegal again.

"What the voters voted for was for it to be legal. There is nothing this board seat could do to change that, nor am I intending to change that," she said.

Stiver says she is focused on education.

"To be more involved with industry members, understand how they operate, what are the regulations now, how are they working now? I think that's paramount. The flip side is that the public should understand so that they don't have this fear factor right, and that's important. So it goes both ways, process and education goes both ways," said Stiver.

Emmett's last day on the board will be February 28 and he says he will continue his activism in his role on the Marijuana Industry Association.

"I'm definitely going to be very active as president of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association and continue to work with those individuals in Juneau who support a healthy marijuana industry and hopefully make positive change through activism," said Emmett.

Stiver will have to be confirmed by the legislature before she can take her seat on the board.