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Earlier this month, Alaska established its first commercial cannabis harvest but now everyone is wondering: When will Alaska marijuana shops open?

“We’re just weeks away,” said Cynthia Franklin, executive director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office, told Alaska Dispatch News on Tuesday. “This is happening.”

In Fairbanks, Frozen Budz is just about finished with the construction of its retail marijuana shop. Frozen Budz was the first retailer approved by the state and is due to have its final inspection next week.

“Then it’s just a waiting game until the labs are running,” Neade wrote.

Across the state, testing facilities are the essential backbone marijuana growers and retailers rely on for moving forward. The first harvests won’t be able to enter Alaska marijuanas shops until that marijuana goes through the important step of lab testing.

CannTest LLC, a marijuana testing facility in Anchorage’s Ship Creek area, will likely be the first to open. “Mid- to late-October is what we’re shooting for,” CEO Mark Malagodi said.

Turnaround time for sample testing is 72 hours, Malagodi said. The company enters results into the statewide tracking system, which allows the grower to release the batch of marijuana to a retailer, he said.

“I’ve had a couple of people tell me that the day we open they’ll be at our front door with samples,” Malagodi said.

Back in Fairbanks, marijuana shop Pakalolo Supply Co. hopes to open around Halloween time. “A lot of that is dependent on the testing labs though,” co-owner Keenan Hollister wrote.

Two other testing facilities are moving toward opening this winter. AK Green Labs LLC in Anchorage has been approved by the state and is hoping to open its doors in early November, owner Brian Coyle said last week.

In Juneau, Southeast Alaska Laboratories LLC’s application is still under review by the state, manager Jessica Dreibelbis said Tuesday. The company is crossing its fingers and hopes to be reviewed at Marijuana Control Board’s October meeting, with its earliest opening at the end of November, she said.

If CannTest opens as planned, Franklin estimated Alaska marijuana shops could open during the last two weeks of October — but noted that may not include Anchorage shops.

In Anchorage, five cannabis shops are looking for Anchorage Assembly approval during its meetings in October and early November.

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