Legislature(2019 - 2020)BARNES 124

03/11/2019 03:15 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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03:16:11 PM Start
03:17:12 PM Confirmation Hearing(s): Marijuana Control Board
03:47:50 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Marijuana Control Board
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                         
                         March 11, 2019                                                                                         
                           3:16 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, Co-Chair                                                                                       
Representative Adam Wool, Co-Chair                                                                                              
Representative Zack Fields                                                                                                      
Representative Sara Hannan                                                                                                      
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Representative Josh Revak                                                                                                       
Representative Dave Talerico                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                        
Marijuana Control Board                                                                                                       
     Vivian Stiver - Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                          
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
VIVIAN STIVER, Nominee                                                                                                          
Marijuana Control Board                                                                                                         
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as nominee for the Marijuana                                                                   
Control Board.                                                                                                                  
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:16:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR LEDOUX called the House Labor and Commerce Standing                                                                  
Committee meeting to order at 3:16 p.m. Representatives Fields,                                                                 
Hannan, Stutes,  Revak, Talerico and  LeDoux were present  at the                                                               
call to order.   Representatives Wool arrived as  the meeting was                                                               
in progress.                                                                                                                    
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S): Marijuana Control Board                                                                               
        CONFIRMATION HEARING(S): Marijuana Control Board                                                                    
3:17:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR LEDOUX  announced the  only order  of business  would be                                                               
the confirmation  hearing for  the vacant  seat on  the Marijuana                                                               
Control Board.                                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR LEDOUX stated Ms. Stiver was online for questions.                                                                     
3:18:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL  asked Ms. Stiver  what she viewed as  major issues                                                               
facing the marijuana control board.                                                                                             
3:18:34 PM                                                                                                                    
VIVIAN  STIVER, Nominee,  Marijuana Control  Board expressed  her                                                               
concern that the industry not  become overly regulated.  She said                                                               
regulations can  become too overwhelming and  should not restrict                                                               
the industry.                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR WOOL  asked for the  appointee's thoughts on  the makeup                                                               
of  the board  and whether  she saw  all the  seats as  public or                                                               
specific to certain industries.                                                                                                 
MS. STIVER indicated she thought  all seats were public, but each                                                               
represented the  public concern  in a different  way.   The board                                                               
seats  are concerned  with  a  variety of  issues  such as  rural                                                               
issues, safety, or health issues; but all seats are public.                                                                     
3:21:44 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 3:21 p.m. to 3:24 p.m.                                                                       
3:23:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL commented  that Ms. Stiver indicated she  was not a                                                               
patron  of   the  marijuana  industry   and  voted   against  the                                                               
legalization of marijuana.  He asked  if Ms. Stiver felt like she                                                               
was  a good  public representative  of the  industry given  those                                                               
3:25:25 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. STIVER responded that the  statewide vote had been decided by                                                               
6 percent,  which is a  good margin,  but still [only]  6 percent                                                               
difference.  She  shared that she is a voracious  learner and had                                                               
passed the  marijuana handlers test.   Ms. Stiver said  she never                                                               
condemned  the industry.   The  nominee indicated  she is  a good                                                               
representative of the public.                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  WOOL  shared that  during  the  last hearing  with  the                                                               
nominee, some people  from the drug and  alcohol testing industry                                                               
spoke in  support of the  nominee.  He  said one of  the industry                                                               
speakers brought  up safe levels of  [marijuana] consumption and,                                                               
in doing  so, mentioned a  timeframe of 24 hours  after consuming                                                               
marijuana  before driving.    Representative  Wool discussed  the                                                               
possible reactions  of marijuana and  alcohol users if  they were                                                               
prohibited   from  driving   for  that   length  of   time  after                                                               
consumption  of those  products.   He shared  his awareness  that                                                               
issues regarding public on-site  marijuana consumption would come                                                               
before the board and asked the nominee if she could comment.                                                                    
MS.  STIVER said  that  currently,  in Alaska,  a  person is  not                                                               
allowed to  have any marijuana  in his/her system  while driving.                                                               
She went on  to say that the woman,  [Jo McGuire], Representative                                                               
Wool was  referring to,  was aware  of a  saliva test  that would                                                               
indicate if a  person had consumed marijuana within  the prior 24                                                               
hours.    Ms.  Stiver  discussed   a  case  where  a  person  had                                                               
tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in their system  and the difficulty in                                                               
determining whether that  person was impaired at the  time of the                                                               
incident.  She recognized the  difficulties regulations will have                                                               
determining whether  someone is impaired, or  simply has consumed                                                               
marijuana, with current testing.                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR LEDOUX asked Ms. Stiver for any final comments.                                                                        
MS. STIVER offered a closing statement:                                                                                         
     I  want to  thank you  for the  opportunity to  address                                                                    
     information  that was  included  in  the document,  Ms.                                                                  
     Stiver versus truth,  which was provided to  you by the                                                                  
     Alaska Marijuana Industry  Association.  The statements                                                                    
     in  the  document  were  selected   from  parts  of  my                                                                    
     testimony and do  not reflect my testimony  as a whole.                                                                    
     I encourage  you to listen  to my entire testimony.   I                                                                    
     have provided  you with the  links to my  testimony and                                                                    
     the  documents that  support the  statement I  chose to                                                                    
     make  as part  of my  testimony.   It  is important  to                                                                    
     remember  these  statements  must   be  viewed  in  the                                                                    
     timeframe  they were  given as  related  to events  and                                                                    
     information.   The  statement, "Colorado  opened it  up                                                                    
     like the  Old West  and we  are fixing  to do  the very                                                                    
     same thing,  even more"  was made  during the  time our                                                                    
     borough  was looking  at  allowing onsite  consumption.                                                                    
     Colorado did  not allow for  onsite consumption  and no                                                                    
     state,   as  of   this  writing,   allows  for   onsite                                                                    
     consumption.  In another statement  I said,  Sativa has                                                                    
     been  known to  cause violence  in people.    This  was                                                                    
     suspected  during  the  time   at  which  I  made  this                                                                    
     statement.  I  have provided the committee a  copy of a                                                                    
     more  recent article,  "Marijuana, Mental  Illness, and                                                                    
     Violence" by Alex Berenson.                                                                                                
     As time progresses,  we always learn more  and we fine-                                                                    
     tune  our perspectives.   I  would like  to acknowledge                                                                    
     that I  misspoke in my  previous testimony  relating to                                                                    
     pharmacy,   licensing,   and  dispensing   of   medical                                                                    
     marijuana.   I had spoken  to one person who  worked in                                                                    
     the   pharmacy  believing   they   were   one  of   the                                                                    
     pharmacists, I  did not follow  up on what I  was told.                                                                    
     It was in  the early [2000s] when  pharmacists tried to                                                                    
     develop  a process  to dispense  marijuana, but  it did                                                                    
     not gain support.                                                                                                          
     Finally, in  regard to the  document Ms.  Stiver Versus                                                                    
     Truth,  not one  statement  listed has  me  in any  way                                                                    
     advocating  to criminalize  marijuana or  disrespecting                                                                    
     the vote  of the people.   What  I bring to  this board                                                                    
     are a  set of skills  that will serve the  industry and                                                                    
     communities well.  I have  small business experience, I                                                                    
     do my homework,  I'm deliberative, and I  can speak and                                                                    
     listen  to  information  from all  stakeholder  groups.                                                                    
     These  skills   have  developed   during  my   time  on                                                                    
     Fairbanks City Council, my time  as a legislative aide,                                                                    
     and as a  small business owner; but  most importantly I                                                                    
     understand things  change.  We  all must listen  to new                                                                    
     and relevant  information as this young  industry moves                                                                    
     The people  of Alaska  have legalized marijuana;  it is                                                                    
     done   no  debate. The boards  duty is  to regulate the                                                                    
     industry  following the  statutory  authority given  by                                                                    
     the  legislature.    Regulation should  not  stunt  the                                                                    
     growth of this industry but  should work well with both                                                                    
     industry and  the community  in which  they reside.   I                                                                    
     will  look to  make decisions  on what  is in  the best                                                                    
     interest  of the  industry,  the  communities in  which                                                                    
     they operate, and as  described by statutory authority.                                                                    
     It is very important  to understand that communications                                                                    
     are not  a one-time  event.  In  order to  move forward                                                                    
     all   parties   must    engage   in   good   productive                                                                    
     conversations.    Education  and process  are  the  key                                                                    
     components  that will  bring  success  to the  cannabis                                                                    
     industry and  confidence among  our communities.   This                                                                    
     only happens with ongoing  communication.  I appreciate                                                                    
     your time  and consideration  of my appointment  to the                                                                    
     Marijuana Control Board.  Thank you.                                                                                       
3:36:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES  commented  Ms.  Stiver  has  not  been  a                                                               
supporter of  the marijuana industry, rather  she's been somewhat                                                               
adversarial to it.   She questioned whether the  nominee would be                                                               
able to remain impartial in her duties.                                                                                         
3:38:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS  stated he  appreciated Ms.  Stiver's time.                                                               
He went on to discuss  the positive economic impact the marijuana                                                               
industry  has had  in his  district.   He discussed  Ms. Stiver's                                                               
prohibitionist record regarding the  industry and whether another                                                               
public health  professional might be  a better fit for  the board                                                               
3:40:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN shared her  concerns regarding Ms. Stiver's                                                               
nomination  to the  board.   She  went on  to describe  marijuana                                                               
industry regulations that are onerous  and her concerns regarding                                                               
overregulating the industry.                                                                                                    
3:43:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  WOOL described  his history  with the  nominee and  the                                                               
alcohol  board.   He  mentioned his  preference  for the  alcohol                                                               
board format over that of  the Marijuana Control Board because of                                                               
the two industry-seat  model.  He offered that due  to the amount                                                               
of concern the industry shared  regarding Ms. Stiver's nomination                                                               
it would be a tough confirmation for some to approve.                                                                           
3:45:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR LEDOUX addressed the committee  and explained the Alaska                                                               
State Legislature does not hold  nominees in committee regardless                                                               
of the committee members opinions.                                                                                              
3:46:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  WOOL   reminded  members   that  signing   the  reports                                                               
regarding  appointments  to  boards  and commissions  in  no  way                                                               
reflects  individual  members'  approval or  disapproval  of  the                                                               
appointees, and that the nominations  are merely forwarded to the                                                               
full legislature for confirmation or rejection.                                                                                 
3:47:50 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Labor and Commerce Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:48 p.m.