JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A state marijuana education program manager has been appointed to the board that regulates Alaska’s legal cannabis industry.
Eliza Muse’s appointment to the Marijuana Control Board’s public health seat was effective June 25, said Corey Allen Young, a spokesperson for Gov. Mike Dunleavy. Muse replaces Loren Jones, who had held the seat since the board’s inception in 2015.
Muse’s appointment allows her to serve until the Legislature next considers appointments, which will likely be sometime next year.
In her public health work, Muse “has been extensively involved in marijuana education and addressing public health challenges associated with legalization,” Young said by email.
Muse said she sees herself as “trying to ensure that we can find sort of a sweet spot as it pertains to ensuring that public health is preserved, safety is preserved, in this new space of a marijuana marketplace and just ensure that our regulations are always considerate of public health.”
She said she sees the board appointment as a “logical fit.” Muse runs a marijuana education program within the state health department.
Muse said she isn’t stepping into her role as a board member “with any sort of preconceived notion or bias” toward existing rules. She said she wants to ensure policy stays in line with research and science, “which we know to date has been lagging due to federal regulations and really lack of guidance at the federal level.”
Muse said she wants to draw attention to “the fact that we do have limited science and research and data to make policy decisions off of.”
While many states have broadly legalized marijuana, it remains illegal at the federal level. Alaska, in 2014, was one of the first states to approve recreational use of marijuana by those 21 or older.
Lacy Wilcox, president of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, said she did not know much about Muse.
“What I had hoped and what I continue to hope for is that the person in the public health seat comes to the table with some science and knowledge and an open mind so that they’re not just regurgitating” anti-cannabis rhetoric, Wilcox said.