Retail Marijuana Sales Finally Begin in Alaska

Retail Marijuana Sales Finally Begin in Alaska

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AP

In November of 2014 voters in Alaska approved marijuana legalization for all adults, along with voters in Oregon and Washington D.C.. Now, almost 2 years later, adults in Alaska finally have a place where they can buy legal marijuana for any reason – no doctor’s permission needed.

Herbal Outfitters is now open for business in Valdez, Alaska. Valdez is an important fishing port and home to about 4,000 people some 100 miles east of Anchorage. They opened their doors at “high noon” on October 29th and were greeted by a line of over 250 people from all over the state who were eager to be a part of history.

As of now, Herbal Outfitters is selling 10 different strains from two licensed growers in the state, Greatland Ganja out of Kasilof, AK and Green Rush Gardens LLC from Sterling. Prices range from about $18 a gram to $22, but those are sure to drop as supply continues to increase to meet demand.

The road to retail sales in Alaska was a long one with officials in the state only starting to take applications for marijuana businesses earlier this year. Those wanting to get into the legal cannabis business were able to apply for licenses in 4 categories: cultivation, retail, testing and manufacturing. Cultivation licenses were issued first this summer so growers could get started on the supply of legal marijuana the retailers were going to need. Last week the state’s first testing lab started testing products.

Two retail shops in Fairbanks, Alaska are set to open this week with another shop scheduled to open in Anchorage early in November. As more shops open, more jobs will be created and, as mentioned above, retail prices will begin to fall.

Unfortunately for Herbal Outfitters, things are not settled when it comes to cannabis in the town of Valdez. Opponents of the shop’s presence say they have enough signatures to get a measure to ban pot shops locally on the ballot next May. This means that all eyes are going to be on Herbal Outfitters and how well they operate over the next 7 months will likely determine if voters allow them to stay in business.

As several other states decide on cannabis legalization for all adults next week, places like Alaska stand as pioneers in what will one day become one of the biggest industries in the United States. It is up to them to show all the advantages legal marijuana brings.

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