Alaskans voted to legalize marijuana more than two-years ago. However, the recreational industry in the Far North has been anything but a free-for-all. That’s due to a combination of regulators being flooded with applications and cities and boroughs creating as many restrictions as possible for cannabis businesses.
Nevertheless, some licenses have been issued and some marijuana businesses have begun operations. So, here’s what you need to know before you buy:
1. Retail weed has been legal for more than two-years, but there are just 14 places to buy. Alaska regulators have been issuing marijuana licenses at a very slow clip. Only 14 stores have been issued a license to sell weed out of hundreds of applicants. In Anchorage, where nearly 40 percent of the state’s population resides, only 6 retailers are up-and-running, at this time
2. Supply is seriously limited. More than 40 growers have been approved for a license to grow weed in Alaska. Yet, there is a massive shortage of supply. Retail stores are having a difficult operating at full capacity, resulting in irregular hours. In addition, there isn’t much variety on retail shelves. Currently, you can get product from about a handful of growers. Obviously, it takes time to grow weed and in a few months there should be a better variety and mix of product on the market.
3. You’ll know how strong you pot is. All marijuana sold in Alaska will have gone through quality control testing. The state requires growers to get their product tested for potency and mold prior to distributing through dispensaries. Each strain of pot will include it’s potency profile, which will give consumers an idea of what they are smoking, as well as screened for mold.
4. …but you won’t know if the product has been sprayed with pesticides or not. Unlike other states, Alaska does not require growers to have their product tested for pesticides. So, the reality is, you might be buying a product that is contaminated with poison because they state does not require pesticide testing.
5. Even out-of-staters can buy legal weed, but you may have trouble finding a place to smoke it. At first the state wasn’t going to allow for public consumption. Then the MCB allowed for on-site consumption at specially-licensed retailers. Then regulators walked that back. Now, apparently, on-site consumption is back on the table. The bottom line is: people need a place to consume their legal marijuana. We need private clubs like Potluck Events.