Since marijuana was legalized in Alaska in 2015, small-town stores have struggled to keep up with the massive demand for weed. In the small southeastern town of Sitka, the demand has been large enough that a new pot store, Northern Lights Indoor Gardens, has opened up in the same strip mall as the town's first marijuana retailer, Weed Dudes.
Even with two stores in the same mall, Northern Lights owner Micah Miller is concerned he won't have enough supply to keep up with the demand. “I get a call every day from somebody up north,” Miller said. “They are all looking for product. It’s a grower’s market.” Miller said that he has been selling a pound of pot every day, and may run out before his next crop is harvested by late March. “My doors will be closed at some moment for a minute,” he said. “Really, I wish we had twice the operation.”
Miller hopes to expand his business by selling a wider variety of products, such as edibles and hash, and eventually opening a smoking lounge for customers. The Alaska Marijuana Control Board recently voted against permitting marijuana use in stores, but could conceivably allow on-site consumption in the future. “We’d like to have them smoke here so they’re not doing it on the streets,” Miller said.
A third marijuana grow-op is also planning to join the market in Sitka this month. Aaron Bean, owner of newly licensed cultivation/retail facility Green Leaf, says that his company is “getting ready to harvest and working on building our dispensary.” Bean will begin selling his product at Weed Dudes within the next couple of weeks.