North Slope police chief named to marijuana board

Gov. Bill Walker has appointed North Slope Borough Police Chief Travis Welch to a vacant position on the Alaska Marijuana Control Board.

 

The board, which regulates Alaska’s commercial marijuana industry, gathers in Juneau this week for a three-day meeting starting Wednesday.

Welch’s appointment was announced Friday by the governor’s office of boards and commissions.

When the Empire on Monday asked for a list of other applicants, it was told it would have to file a state records request. That request has been made.

Welch has worked for the North Slope Borough Police Department since 2008 and lives in Utqiaġvik. He replaces Soldotna Police Chief Peter Mlynarik, who resigned his position on the board after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions withdrew a legal memo that has guided the federal approach toward marijuana enforcement.

Recreational marijuana has been legalized in multiple states, but it remains illegal at a federal level.

After Sessions’ action, Mlynarik said the marijuana industry was no longer legitimate. Mlynarik also had concerns with the quality of state marijuana testing.

The state accepted applications for two weeks after Mlynarik’s resignation and appointed Welch the day after the application period closed.

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