On Saturday, October 30th, Herbal Outfitters, in Valdez, became Alaska’s first legal cannabis store to open to the public for retail sales. According to the Associated Press, over 250 people lined up outside the store for it’s inaugural day of business, with some coming from Fairbanks and Anchorage, over 350 miles away. Do to a lack of certified testing capacity for concentrates and edibles, the store will carry only flower until testing for processed cannabis products comes online.
Although the crowds showed up for the store’s noontime opening, the actual first legal retail sale of cannabis in the state took place the previous night, at a private event at Pakalolo Supply Co in Fairbanks, Alaska. A video of the sale (found on the company Facebook page), features a comically long blunder when the shop owners are unable to ring up the purchase. On the one hand, we wish they had edited the video, which reinforces every negative (and typically inaccurate) stereotype of the kind of people who work in the cannabis industry. On the other hand, one moves to Alaska for doing, not for thinking.
The first purchase, because inquiring minds want to know, was one gram of Northern Lights. It retailed for a steep $21, reminiscent of the early days of legalization in Washington, when supply shortage kept prices sky high.
With only three more retail outfits set to open in Alaska over the next month, all in Fairbanks, competition is likely to remain low – and prices high – for at least the next few months. This wave of opening – two full years after Alaksa’s vote to legalize – has been brought on by the opening of CannTest, the state’s first certified testing laboratory. Though the AP has reported that it will also be testing edibles and concentrates, it is unclear when those products will be available to retail consumers.