Alaska gov appoints police chief to marijuana regulatory board

JUNEAU, Alaska — Gov. Bill Walker has appointed the police chief of the North Slope Borough to the board that regulates Alaska’s legal marijuana industry.

Walker spokesman Jonathon Taylor says Walker named Travis Welch to the Marijuana Control Board’s public safety seat. Taylor says Welch was one of two applicants.

The seat was vacated by Soldotna Police Chief Peter Mlynarik (MLYN’-arh-ik) after the U.S. Department of Justice changed its policy on marijuana enforcement. He said the department’s decision removed the underpinning on which Alaska’s industry is based.

Related: Alaska lawmakers seek to separate federal, state marijuana regs

Welch’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Legislature.

Messages seeking comment were left for Welch.

Cary Carrigan, with the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, says he doesn’t know much about Welch but says his group is concerned with any appointment of a “prohibitionist” to the board.