Assembly blocks pot shop; upset with free samples

Published: Nov. 1, 2016 at 10:42 PM AKDT
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It was slated to make history as the first retail marijuana shop to open in Anchorage, but now it’s not certain Arctic Herbery will open at all.

In an unscheduled vote, the Anchorage assembly unanimously decided to postpone the municipal clerk from processing the marijuana license for the pot shop on Arctic Boulevard in an apparent move to punish the business.

"I can't emphasize enough how proactive I believe this body will be in yanking the license or bringing back bad operators to answer to the community," said assembly member Amy Demboski at Tuesday’s meeting.

Assembly member Dick Traini said he was first to bring up the action against Arctic Herbery. He said the decision stemmed from pot shop owner Bryant Thorp giving out free marijuana to customers weeks before the municipality's license went into effect.

Over the past two weeks, Traini said Thorp received two Notice of Violations from the state. That’s why the assembly is calling on Thorp to appear in front of the assembly at their Nov. 15 meeting.

“We're willing to support these people, we're willing to give them a licenses, but you've got to maintain the regulations we have,” said Traini. “I don't think this individual did."

On Oct. 21, Thorp said he began giving out marijuana to customers as an incentive to come back when he ultimately received cannabis for sale.

“The samples that I've been given from these cultivators, I've just been handing them out,” Thorp told Channel 2 on Oct. 21.

The decision to postpone the retail cannabis license could be costly for the Arctic Herbery. The owner previously said, he's been working for years to be the first out of the gate in Anchorage's cannabis industry and is already marketing the business on Facebook as “Anchorage’s First Retail Marijuana Shop.”

Now his hopes to be number one are in limbo.

The owner did not respond requests for comment on Tuesday following the assembly decision.