Legislature(2015 - 2016)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)
04/16/2015 01:30 PM Senate LABOR & COMMERCE
Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.
Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 123-ESTABLISH MARIJUANA CONTROL BOARD 6:27:09 PM CHAIR COSTELLO reconvened the meeting and announced the consideration of HB 123. "An Act establishing the Marijuana Control Board; relating to the powers and duties of the Marijuana Control Board; relating to the appointment, removal, and duties of the director of the Marijuana Control Board; relating to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board; and providing for an effective date." She noted the new Senate committee substitute (CS). 6:27:36 PM SENATOR GIESSEL motioned to adopt the Senate CS for CS for HB 123, labeled 29-GH1110\S, as the working document. CHAIR COSTELLO objected for discussion purposes. She asked Mr. Eiler to present the Senate CS. 6:28:12 PM WESTON EILER, Staff, Senator Costello and the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee, said he would explain the changes that appear in the work draft version S. Page 2, lines 22-30, the language in subsections (c) and (d) is deleted. These sections factor in the experience of the executive director when filling the other sectors on the board. The CS removes this new and unusual policy call. Page 3, line 30, the CS changes from two years to three years the number of successive terms a member may serve on the board. Members are appointed to staggered terms and this change will allow board members the opportunity to serve a little longer, particularly the person who is appointed to serve one year. This will allow some institutional knowledge and experience to be built up in the board. Responding to a question from Senator Stevens, he directed attention to the transition language in Section 10 on page 7. It lays out the staggered terms that are customary for establishing a new board. Page 6, line 30, the sunset for the Marijuana Control Board was changed from June 30, 2018 to June 30, 2017. The shortened timeline for this new board allows the legislature to review the potential issues sooner rather than later. 6:33:32 PM CHAIR COSTELLO removed her objection. Finding no further objection, version S was before the committee. She asked Mr. Eiler to review the makeup of the board outlined on page 2, lines 16-20. MR. EILER explained that this language spells out the five seats on the Marijuana Control Board. There is one person from the public safety sector; one person from the public health sector; one person currently residing in a rural area; one person actively engaged in the marijuana industry; and one person who is either from the general public or actively engaged in the marijuana industry. SENATOR STEVENS asked if the public health sector wouldn't be someone from a state office. MR. EILER said he didn't read it that way, but would defer to Ms. Franklin. 6:35:30 PM CYNTHIA FRANKLIN, Director, Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development (DCCED), explained that this language mirrors the language in Title 4 regarding the makeup of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. It prohibits anyone who is currently employed in any of those state or federal roles from serving on the board, but the governor and legislature would be looking for people who have that type of experience in their background. CHAIR COSTELLO asked if that is partially because the time commitment of this board would preclude someone who is currently serving in that sector. MS. FRANKLIN replied it's that and the potential for a conflict of interest between agency work and the board. CHAIR COSTELLO asked her to explain how the language on page 7, lines 9-12, affects the initial appointment of the public member. Her understanding is that initially the only public member will be the rural seat, because the governor would be prohibited from choosing a public member instead of an industry member for the initial appointment. 6:40:58 PM MS. FRANKLIN agreed the language appears to prohibit the governor from choosing a public member instead of an industry member for the initial appointment. SENATOR STEVENS asked if these five positions are salaried. MS. FRANKLIN answered no; these people are volunteers. SENATOR GIESSEL said she has a different interpretation of the language in subsection (b) on page 2, lines 12-15. It says a member of the board may not hold any other state or federal office, either elective or appointive. It does not say that a police officer or public health nurse can't serve on the board. CHAIR COSTELLO agreed with the interpretation. SENATOR STEVENS asked Ms. Franklin if that was her interpretation. MS. FRANKLIN said the people serving on the [ABC] Board currently are employed. They are prohibited from being employed by the state through an appointment process and they cannot be employed by the state or federal government through an elective process. She reiterated that this is the same language that has been used for 30 years to appoint members to the ABC Board. She is unaware of any controversy in the interpretation of the language. 6:44:45 PM SENATOR GIESSEL expressed concern with the shortened time period on page 6, line 31. CHAIR COSTELLO explained that it's not a true sunset because the voter initiative stands until that time; it's just the opportunity that a sunset brings. It allows the legislature to bring the players back in the public venue and discuss the board's progress and challenges. SENATOR GIESSEL said she appreciates the value of a sunset review, but a request through the Legislative Budget and Audit for a report can be made at any time. 6:47:39 PM CHRIS VLADICK, Commissioner designee, Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development (DCCED), stated his belief that a marijuana control board should be established. He said this is a bare bones approach given the state's financial situation and he looks forward to working with the legislature on this matter. MS. FRANKLIN highlighted two imperatives about the bill, the first of which is that it funds the initiative and safely implements regulations related to the regulation of marijuana. Finally, if the bill doesn't pass the voter initiative directs that the ABC Board will take on the task of regulating this substance. She reminded the committee that these volunteers have already taken on the daunting task of rewriting the alcohol statutes and to ask them to take on this new substance imposes an undue burden and does a disservice to the work that is being done on alcohol. She concluded that it is important to have the enforcement and licensing personnel able to address both substances, but it does not make sense to distract ABC Board members from their important task and split their attention between these two substances. She urged the committee to support the concept of having two groups tackle these substances separately. 6:50:59 PM CHAIR COSTELLO opened public testimony. 6:51:17 PM PAUL THOMAS, Vice Chair, Alaska CHARR, testified in support of establishing a marijuana control board and adding funding for the extra positions. The ABC Board is fully involved in the Title 4 rewrite so it is critical to get the new board up and running as fast as possible. 6:52:13 PM KATE BURKHART, Executive Director, Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and the Alaska Mental Health Board, explained that these boards are the statutory advisory boards on issues related to substance abuse and mental health. She said she submitted written testimony expressing complete support for the passage of HB 123. It is imperative to have the ability in both human and financial resources to safely and effectively implement Ballot Measure 2 in a way that mitigates public harm. She related that there has been great progress in the public health issues related to underage drinking and alcohol abuse in the last 20 years, and the ABC Board has been a large part of that. She expressed concern that a diversion of resources from the effective regulation and enforcement of alcohol laws will set this progress back. She related that the boards that she serves on operate in much the same manner as is proposed in the bill. There are two boards with a shared staff. The boards work in concert but each represents a unique constituency and brings unique expertise to the work they do. This is cost effective and a highly effective way of doing business, as it could be with separate alcohol and marijuana boards. 6:54:25 PM JASON HARDER, representing himself, Copper Center, Alaska, testified in support of HB 123. He pointed out the bill gives rural Alaska a seat on the board so rural Alaska should be able to participate in the commercial aspect of Ballot Measure 2. However, SB 30 opts out all of rural Alaska from the commercial business associated with marijuana, which doesn't make sense. He asked the committee to not opt out people in rural communities who do not have a way to opt back in. 6:56:12 PM CHAIR COSTELLO closed public testimony. 6:56:21 PM SENATOR GIESSEL motioned to report HB 123, labeled 29-GH1110\S, from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). 6:56:38 PM CHAIR COSTELLO announced that without objection SCS CSHB 123(L&C) is reported from the Senate Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.