Alaska Police Chief Named to Marijuana Board; Illinois Lawmakers Consider Cannabis as Opioid Remedy

Police chief named to Alaska marijuana regulatory board

By Becky Bohrer

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The police chief of the small southeast Alaska city of Sitka is the newest member of the state’s Marijuana Control Board.

Gov. Bill Walker’s office confirmed Thursday, May 24, 2018, that Jeff Ankerfelt had been appointed to the board’s public safety seat, which had been vacant since March 2018.

Travis Welch, who was appointed to the seat earlier this year, resigned in March after losing his job as North Slope Borough police chief.

Walker’s office says there were two applications for the seat in this latest go-round. Ankerfelt’s appointment is subject to legislative approval.

The appointment, which was effective May 14, 2018, comes as the board is poised to once again debate proposed rules that would allow for consumers to partake of marijuana products on site at authorized shops.

Illinois House considers using marijuana to fight opioids

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois House panel has endorsed a proposal expanding the use of medical cannabis to fight the state’s opioid crisis.

The House Executive committee voted 8-3 Thursday, May 24, 2018. The plan would allow individuals who qualify for opioid prescriptions to apply for the state’s medical cannabis program.

Rep. Kelly Cassidy is the sponsor of the proposal. The Chicago Democrat says it’s a less-addictive alternative to treating pain and could be a remedy to the growing number of opioid overdoses across the state. Cassidy says she is working on cleanup provisions that she hopes will get committee approval in late May 2018 before moving to the House floor.

The Senate’s approved the idea, but Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has fought previous efforts to expand medical cannabis.

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