Anchorage residents eager for marijuana retail shops to open

Anchorage is gearing up for the city’s first pot shops. With over 20 shops registered for licenses, Anchorage residents are taking advantage of the new industry.

“I’m very excited about the economic possibilities that have been put on the table. I think there are a lot of entrepreneurs who will be able to do great things in this industry,” Cleo Anderson, a UAA small business student, said.

With marijuana stores already open in Fairbanks and Valdez, Alaska is trying to keep up with demand. On the historic opening of the first marijuana retail shop in Alaska, Herbal Outfitters in Valdez saw hundreds of people visit their shop from all over the state. Since their grand opening on Oct. 29, Herbal Outfitters has seen people from all over the state continuing to visit their shop.

“It’s been great, more than great. Over 30 couples this last weekend came down from all over the state, from Anchorage, Palmer, Glennallen, the islands… it’s definitely been a fun couple weeks,” Derek Morris, general manager of Herbal Outfitters in Valdez said.

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Dankorage prepares for business after being approved last Tuesday by the Anchorage Assembly. Located on Spenard and Benson, Dankorage is one of many shops expected to open up in Anchorage. Photo credit: Jay Guzman

Many Anchorage residents are looking forward to the health and medicinal uses of marijuana.

“I know many people with chronic conditions who have had massive breakthroughs using marijuana as an alternative to prescription drugs that have otherwise been ineffective or come with damaging side effects,” Anderson said.

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Anchorage marijuana retail shops will make it easier for chronic patients to get the relief they need.

“I’m excited for the marijuana stores. I know so many people with chronic health issues who have had to meet growers in shady parking lots for so long, now they can have the dignity of walking into a store and buying their medicine the same way you would at a pharmacy,” Abby Slater, UAA journalism student, said.

It’s up in the air when the retail shops will open. Arctic Herbery was ready to open at the beginning of November, but after the owner, Bryant Thorpe, gave out free samples the city postponed the opening of Arctic Herbery.

Shops with active licenses and closest to opening include Alaskabuds, Enlighten Alaska and Arctic Herbery. However, other shops are catching up quick to hopefully open their doors before the end of the year.