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Celebrating cannabis: Anchorage’s first pot shop is open for business

By Shannon Ballard 4:38 PM December 15, 2016

Anchorage hit a marijuana milestone on Thursday. Arctic Herbery is officially the first pot shop in the city to start selling cannabis over the counter. It’s something folks have been waiting for since Alaska legalized weed two years ago.

While the first shop in the state opened in Valdez back in October, customers who lined up outside Arctic Herbery on a chilly morning said it’s their turn to be part of history.

“I didn’t think I’d ever see the day that you could actually go in and legally buy it and don’t have any worries,” Todd Crutchfield said.

Dozens of people waited patiently for their turn to enter the small retail space at 7107 Arctic Boulevard.

Eighty-one-year-old Anna Ercoli was the first customer through the doors. She bought a prepackaged container of the strain Afghan Kush and says she’ll use it medicinally to help manage pain in her legs and help her sleep.

Anna Ercoli, the store's first customer, only recently started using cannabis to manage pain in her legs. She plans to use Afghani Kush to make ointment.

Anna Ercoli, the store’s first customer, only recently started using cannabis to manage pain in her legs. She plans to use Afghan Kush to make ointment. (Jessica Stugelmayer / KTVA)

On the first day of legal sales, Arctic Herbery had three strains of marijuana available from North Pole cultivator Black Rapids. Because of the demand, customers were allowed to buy only one 2.5-gram container of cannabis for $50, plus tax. They were allowed to purchase no more than two rolled joints in addition, at a cost of $15 each.

Outside the store, customer Hans Schubert showed off his purchase.

“It’s Blueberry Indica,” Schubert said. “The aroma is so good.”

Hans Schubert bought a strain of marijuana called blueberry indica and was admiring its strong aroma.

Hans Schubert shows off his purchase of a strain of marijuana called Blueberry Indica outside of Arctic Herbery in Anchorage on Thursday. (Jessica Stugelmayer / KTVA)

Arctic Herbery owner Bryant Thorp says it was his dream for years to open the first pot shop in Anchorage.

“I’ve been called a hero by many people this morning and I’ve been thanked with tears in their eyes for putting forth the effort to get here,” Thorp said.

The store owner says opening day isn’t the finish line. He believes the legal cannabis industry in Anchorage is just getting started.

On Saturday, Alaska Fireweed in downtown Anchorage will start welcoming customers at “high noon.” The owners of Dankorage in Spenard told KTVA they will have a soft opening on Monday, Dec. 19. Several more stores are planning to open in the following weeks.

Mark Green poses after purchasing marijuana from Arctic Herbery in Anchorage on Thursday. He said he's been told pot would never be legalized in his lifetime. "I just proved all them naysayers wrong," he said.

Mark Green poses after purchasing marijuana from Arctic Herbery in Anchorage on Thursday. He said he’s been told pot would never be legalized in his lifetime. “I just proved all them naysayers wrong,” he said.

KTVA 11’s Shannon Ballard can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.

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