Marijuana retail shops are now open for business in Alaska

Published: Oct. 29, 2016 at 4:22 PM AKDT
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It's official, marijuana sales are now open for business in Alaska.

Herbal Outfitters in Valdez opened its doors Saturday afternoon to hundreds of customers anxious to get their hands on the first batch of legal cannabis in the state.

Michael Holcombe, a Valdez resident, was at the front of the line beginning at 8:30 a.m. but he's been waiting much longer to buy marijuana legally.

"I've been waiting 46 years fot his," Holcombe said.

Before doors opened at high noon Herbal Outfitters owner RIck Ballow yelled out to the crowd, "Without you, it wouldn't be possible," which was met with cheers from the long line of people waiting to buy marijuana.

Holcombe was the store's first customer, surrounded by media from all over the state.

He walked out of Herbal Outfitters about 20 minutes later with five different strains.

The store is offering 10 strains from two growers in Alaska, Greatland Ganja out of Kasilof and Green Rush Gardens LLC from sterling.

General Manager Derek Morris said one gram of Greatland Ganja's bud is $21.95, while Green Rush Gardens is $17.95.

Co-owner of Greatland Ganja Arthur Abel traveled from Kasilof to witness his dream of cultivating marijuana become real.

"I'm happy to be past the growing pains of making it a reality," he said. "It's a good place to be."

Herbal Outfitters won't be the only retail store for long. Frozen Budz in Fairbanks will open Monday and Pakalolo Supply Co. in Fairbanks will open Wednesday.

Arctic Herbery in Anchorage hopes to open by early November.