The very first recreational cannabis shops in Alaska opened their doors in October 2016, and it didn’t take long before nearly the entire state’s supply of cannabis was bought out. Seeing as shelves were stocked with only the very first harvests, it didn’t take long for cannabis shops to run out of product.
In recent weeks, three different dispensaries in Fairbanks have had to close their doors temporarily until they have enough product to reopen. Some have chosen to open periodically, when they were able to get enough product to make opening the store worth it, while one shop will remain closed until at least mid-way through January, which is when the shop’s own harvest is expected to be ready.
Since Anchorage was farther behind in getting cultivation facilities up and running, growers from other areas, including Fairbanks, are supplying the Anchorage shops as well. There haven’t been any shops that have had to shut down for more than a few days yet in that area – although some shops are mostly getting by on edibles while they are out of flower for the time being.
“It’s definitely been hard to meet demand, that’s for sure, which is good and kind of stressful too,” Barrett said.
At this point, growers are actually taking a waiting list – and retailers are making prepayments – to ensure that everyone gets the product they need. Hopefully the next couple harvests will be enough to catch them up, getting all the shops restocked and prepared for customers once again – where sales may calm slightly now that the holidays are over.
In the beginning of the commercial cannabis industry in Washington there was a shortage – and it’s merely the fact that customers have been waiting, but you can only grow so many plants and they only grow so quickly, there’s not a whole lot that can be done about that.
“By summer we’ll be looking at an industry that will look totally different than what it looks like now … come summer ’18, it’s going to be unrecognizable,” Hollister said.
Hopefully, with cultivation facilities now growing cannabis in Anchorage as well as Fairbanks, there will be a much bigger supply, ready to meet the current demand. It’s a growing industry and it will take some time to get things running as smoothly as everyone wants it to – so far things have gone relatively well for Alaska, and as time goes on it’s only going to improve.