Peter Mlynarik of Soldotna, Alaska, was elected chairman of the Alaska Marijuana Control Board on Thursday, June 9, 2016, during the board's meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. (Mark Thiessen, Associated Press)

Chair of Alaska marijuana board under fire for potential conflict of interest

SOLDOTNA, Alaska — The chairman of the board that regulates Alaska’s legal marijuana industry is defending himself against conflict of interest questions.

Peter Mlynarik told Soldotna radio station KSRM he was involved in getting to the local ballot a measure that would bar marijuana businesses outside of cities in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. He said he does not believe that is a conflict.

Mlynarik, who chairs the Marijuana Control Board and is the police chief of Soldotna, participated in a call-in program in which some callers raised questions about that.

His involvement in signature gathering prompted concerns during his confirmation vote before the Legislature, though he won confirmation easily.

Borough voters will decide the ballot measure next month.

Mlynarik is one of five members on the Marijuana Control Board. The board currently is made up of two industry members and members representing public safety, rural Alaska and public health. Mlynarik holds the public safety seat.

Harriet Milks, an assistant attorney general who advises the board, told the Alaska Journal of Commerce last year that behavior away from the board is irrelevant unless a board member stands to personally gain from an issue on which the board is acting.

Information from: KSRM-AM