With Colorado and Washington getting most of the attention in the recreational cannabis industry, the fact that Alaska legalized adult cannabis use in late 2014 gets scant mention in the pot press.
That’s not to say there isn’t a vibrant and passionate cannabis culture up in the Last Frontier. Though still in its infancy, the Alaskan cannabis scene is definitely one of the OGs to watch as the United States moves toward a 420-friendly future.
What’s It Like For The Plants?
The mild, wet climate in Washington and Oregon is fairly ideal for cultivation, but what about Alaska?
Alaska has long been considered an integral part of the Pacific Northwest growing scene. Most people who think of the state as a vast, barren tundra of snow and ice, forget that Alaska receives 24/7 sunlight during the summer months due to its relative position on the Earth’s axis.
During May, June, July and August, it gets quite warm, and there are several strains of autoflowering cannabis, or Ruderalis, that can actually be grown outdoors. Indoor grows work just fine the rest of the year.
Many are familiar with the earthy aroma and distinctly energizing sativa high of Alaskan Thunder Fuck, also referred to as Matanuska Thunder Fuck. This strain actually has been grown in an agriculturally rich valley area in Alaska for decades and is considered a high-grade medicinal bud.
What’s It Like For Businesses?
In spite of a slow licensing process that began in February, cannabis businesses are gaining a foothold in Alaska.
A multi-state cannabis cup event, the Northwest Cannabis Classic, started in 2015, traveling from Anchorage to Tacoma, Washington and then to Portland. This year’s Alaska event took place just this month, and was sponsored and attended by some of the top up-and-coming cannabis companies in the northwest.
Jonah Tacoma of Dabstars, who sponsored the event and are based in Washington, said it was a fantastic event in spite of a slightly oppressive police presence. “There were several off-duty cops & plainclothes cops walking around the event and attempting to get samples — they made it pretty clear that this was going on.”
Dabstars will be back in Alaska in September for CannaCon, a traditionally business-to-business event. There are endless opportunities to make new industry connections there.
You might have also heard that sometime this summer, the first “pot cafes” in the United States will open in Alaska. One such locale is already open in Anchorage: PotLuck, a membership-based, “bring-your-own” style cannabis cafe, and pretty much the only functioning legal dab lounge in the country. While it’s a start, locals look forward to a day when Alaska’s cafes look more like those in Amsterdam, where you can actually purchase buds and relax onsite.
What’s It Like For Stoners?
If you’re a cannabis consumer in Alaska, life is good. You don’t have access to the same retail variety that exists down south, but the quality is definitely there.
You’re legally allowed to grow six plants of your very own, if you choose. Many home growers simply trade flowers to experience all their neighborhood has to offer.
If you’re not a home grower, there are lots of great local brands to choose from on the edibles front, such as Baked Alaska edibles. There’s the promise of additional social consumption sites, like PotLuck, opening in the near future.
The bottom line is that Alaska, though often forgotten by the mainland, truly holds it down for the U.S. weed community. Get in touch with the wilderness of cannabis and make a trip up there as soon as possible.