Alaska’s top cannabis regulator is resigning

Alaska’s top cannabis official, Cynthia Franklin, is stepping down from her post to take another job in the state government.

Franklin said Jan. 6 will be her last day as director of Alaska’s Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office (AMCO), according to Alaska Public Media.

In 2014, she was appointed head of the Alcoholic Beverages Control Board, which morphed into the AMCO after Alaskans passed a recreational cannabis referendum on Nov. 4 of that year.

Franklin, who has been an attorney since 1989, will next serve as assistant attorney general for the Consumer Protection Unit with Alaska’s Department of Law. A replacement for Franklin is expected to be appointed in early January, state commerce commissioner Chris Hladick told the Associated Press.

Franklin is proud of her role in helping Alaska start a recreational market without having a medical marijuana market to build on.

“We are the only state in the country to create a marijuana industry from scratch,” she told Alaska Public Media. “No existing stores were open, no licenses were issued when our ballot measure passed.”

As recently as September, Franklin predicted that cannabis sales could begin by February 2017. But the state’s first marijuana store opened in late October and there could be close to 60 by the end of 2016, Franklin recently told Marijuana Business Daily.