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Officer leads pot, alcohol agency after director’s firing

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The top enforcement officer for the combined agency that regulates alcohol and legal marijuana in Alaska will serve as interim director.
James Hoelscher will serve until a replacement is named for Erika McConnell. McConnell was fired by the marijuana board Wednesday, a month after alcohol regulators also dismissed her. Both boards had to agree to McConnell’s removal.

Hoelscher spoke before the marijuana board meeting resumed Thursday, asking applicants seeking licenses and the marijuana office staff to conduct a reset to cool tempers. Licensees had expressed frustrations over long wait times.

Mikal Martin, the board’s records and licensing officer, said the staff works as best as it can with the resources given. She asked board members to not just criticize their work but give them constructive ways to improve.



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