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Police chief named to marijuana board

January 26th | Shady Grove Oliver Print this article   Email this article  

The newest member of Alaska's Marijuana Control Board hails from the North Slope. Gov. Bill Walker recently appointed borough Police Chief Travis Welch to the public safety seat on the statewide board.

Welch could not be reached for comment by deadline.

The spot opened up Jan. 4, following the resignation of former Chairman Peter Mlynarik, who is the police chief in Soldotna, on the Kenai Peninsula.

As the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported, Mlynarik stepped down from his position following the decision by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rescind the Cole Memo.

The Cole Memo, which was drafted in 2013, instructed states that had legalized recreational marijuana to not use federal resources to enforce cannabis prohibition laws. It loosened law enforcement's mandated approach to marijuana monitoring by shifting the emphasis away from prohibition and toward preventing negative consequences of legal use, keeping it out of the hands of traffickers and ensuring its legal and ethical cultivation.

Welch must still be confirmed by the legislature, though he is expected to serve in his new capacity at the board meeting happening this week in Juneau.

He is marking his 10-year anniversary with the borough police force this year. He previously earned a B.S. in Economics from Brigham Young University, and an M.A. in criminal justice from Saint Joseph's University, the governor's office noted in a release.

Shady Grove Oliver can be reached at


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