Alaska’s first pot shop is open for business.
Herbal Outfitters opened to the public on Saturday, nearly two years after Alaskans voted to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana. The store is located in Valdez, a tiny coastal town of about 4,000 people.
Customers lined up outside the store for hours before the grand opening at noon. The Alaska Dispatch-News interviewed the first customer to make a purchase, a 63-year-old man named Michael Holcombe:
He perused the 10 strains available, smelling the buds and asking about products on the shelves.
He walked out with five different strains: 2 grams of G-13 crossed with Cheese, 1 gram of Jack the Ripper, 1 gram of Bubba Kush, 1 gram of Blue Dream and 2 grams of Deep Sleep, for $145.65.
Holcombe is retired, and said he didn't have any big plans after he makes his purchase.
"I'll probably just go on my day, go home and smoke a bowl later," Holcombe said.
The store, owned by Rick Ballow, sells marijuana from two growers in the state’s Kenai Peninsula.
Alaskan residents approved in November 2014 a measure that allowed people age 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and legalized the manufacture and sale of the drug. The measure went into effect in February 2015. Officials in charge of regulating the new industry spent months figuring out the rules, and this February began accepting applications for marijuana business licenses.
Herbal Outfitters is the first of several pot stores to open this year. Alaska Dispatch-News reports Frozen Buds and Pakalolo Supply Co, both located in Fairbanks, will open later this week. Arctic Herbery will open early next month in Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city.
Recreational marijuana use is also legal in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia.