Even without marijuana for sale, Anchorage's first retail pot shop opens its doors

Published: Oct. 21, 2016 at 7:46 PM AKDT
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Although no retail cannabis has been approved for store shelves in Alaska, Anchorage's first marijuana shop opened its doors on Thursday.

Arctic Herbery is currently only stocked with a variety of pipes, rolling papers and bongs, but customers said even without cannabis for sale, they’re still leaving satisfied. That’s because the owner is giving away “free samples” of product to customers 21 years and older.

Owner Bryant Thorp said because he’s not officially using an operating marijuana license yet, he’s allowed to give away free marijuana.

“When you hand someone a joint or a nug, they kind of get excited about it,” said Thorp.

Thorp said there’s been near-constant construction inside and out of his business since it became the first marijuana store to be approved to operate in Anchorage.

Although his storefront on Arctic Boulevard is easy to miss, a small ‘open’ sign on the front is already attracting people into his parking lot.

“One guy saw the sign, he kept going and kept going and kept going. He says, ‘I got all the way to Dimond and made a U-turn. I had to come back to enter,’” Thorp said, describing the excitement of people walking through his doors.

The last major hurdle facing Alaska's legal marijuana markets was approved on Friday.

The state and municipality issued their first license to a testing facility. That means marijuana cultivated for the retail sale in Alaska can now be inspected for consumer safety, opening the door for industry leaders to begin stocking their shelves with product in the coming weeks.