Alaska Police Chief: War on Cannabis a ‘Waste of Time’

Published on May 25, 2018 · Last updated July 28, 2020
Sitka, Alaska: VIew of the harbor and the Totem Square Hotel and Marina in Sitka, Alaska.

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The police chief recently named to the board that regulates Alaska’s legal marijuana industry said the fight that has long been waged against pot in this country has been a “waste of time” and a waste of law enforcement resources.

Jeff Ankerfelt, who is police chief in the southeast Alaska city of Sitka, told The Associated Press on Friday that he wants to contribute to the successful implementation of well thought-out industry regulations. During his career in law enforcement, he came to the conclusion that “our war on marijuana was really a waste of time and counterproductive, particularly as there was increasing evidence that there was some medical benefits to the use of marijuana.”

Ankerfelt said he is interested in investigating the medical benefits.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the marijuana plant has chemicals that may help symptoms for some health problems. But the agency says there’s insufficient research on whether the plant works to treat or cure those conditions.

Ankerfelt was appointed by Gov. Bill Walker to the Marijuana Control Board’s public safety seat, replacing Travis Welch, who only served for about two months.

Prior to Welch, Soldotna Police Chief Pete Mlynarik held the seat. He resigned in January after the U.S. Department of Justice shifted from a more lenient stance on marijuana enforcement.

Mlynarik said the department’s decision removed the underpinning on which Alaska’s industry is based and did away with the federal government “looking the other way” in states that have legalized marijuana.

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has said he’s committed to upholding the will of Alaskans, who voted in 2014 to legalize adult use of marijuana.

Cary Carrigan, executive director of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, said he’s interested in learning more about Ankerfelt and encouraged by what he’s heard so far.

“I think Mlynarik saw it as, he was still in the drug war, Mlynarik was,” Carrigan said.

Shop highly rated dispensaries near you

Showing you dispensaries near
See all dispensaries
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The AP is one of the world's largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering.
View The Associated Press's articles
Get good reads, local deals, and strain spotlights delivered right to your inbox.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to Leafly's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Stay In Touch

Receive updates on new products, special offers, and industry news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to Leafly's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Leafly mobile app
Get high for less.
Download the Leafly app.
Download Leafly: Marijuana Reviews on the App Store
Download Leafly Marijuana Reviews on Google Play

* Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information provided by this website or this company is not a substitute for individual medical advice.

© 2024 Leafly, LLC
Leafly and the Leafly logo are registered trademarks of Leafly, LLC. All Rights Reserved.