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Alaska alcohol and marijuana control board votes to remove top regulator

The Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has voted 5-0 to remove the state’s top alcohol and marijuana regulator.

In a special meeting Thursday morning, members cited “differences in temperament” between the board and Erika McConnell, head of the Alaska Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office.

According to Thursday’s action, McConnell would be fired from her position only if the state’s Marijuana Control Board concurs with her removal before Nov. 30.

Mark Springer, chairman of the marijuana board, said by phone that a meeting of the board has already been scheduled for Nov. 13-15. Asked whether the board would concur with McConnell’s removal, Springer declined comment but referred to the minutes of a July meeting in which the marijuana board voted unanimously in favor of a motion declaring that the board has full confidence in McConnell.

By phone, McConnell said she believes members of the alcohol board were pressured by the administration of Gov. Mike Dunleavy to vote for her removal. Under state law, the alcohol board is a quasi-judicial agency under the Department of Commerce “for administrative purposes only.” While the governor can appoint a director, he cannot ordinarily remove one. [Read more at Anchorage Daily News]

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