Alaska's first pot shop opens to a long line of customers

Markets Associated Press

Alaska's first marijuana retail outlet opened to a throng of customers, two years after voters approved allowing people 21 and older to recreationally use pot.

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More than 250 people lined up Saturday outside Herbal Outfitters in Valdez, store owner Richard Ballow said. Customers came from as far away as Anchorage and Fairbanks, more than 350 miles to the north.

The opening Saturday at "high noon" marks the first time it's legal to buy pot under a voter initiative approved in November 2014. Voter approval made it legal under state law to possess up to an ounce of marijuana outside of a home.

"It's a historic moment," Ballow said. "I feel like I am blessed and honored to be a part of this."

The state's first testing lab, CannTest, opened in Anchorage Monday after clearing regulatory hurdles. It will test cannabis flowers, edibles and concentrates.

Herbal Outfitters' general manager, Derek Morris, said the store will initially carry only dried cannabis flowers. He said manufacturers of edibles and concentrates are still in various stages of the permitting process.

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In Fairbanks, two marijuana retail stores are planning to open next week after final inspections are completed, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported. A third Fairbanks store plans to open in about one month.