Kushtopia is among Alaska's newest cannabis retail stores open for business. Located inside a renovated log cabin in Butte, owner Phil Izon says the dispensary is just a small part of his vision. 

“Most of our focus is geared towards the on-site consumption,” Izon said. 

The rest of the standalone building remains under construction. Izon says he's turning it into an 1,800-square foot cannabis cafe, where people can legally use marijuana bought at his store. He's designing the space with tourists in mind.

“You buy weed and then you don't have anywhere to smoke so I think this will give them an opportunity to not only smoke but consume and do it in a safe environment as well,” Izon said.

Under the Marijuana Control Board's rules, consumers will be able to enter a licensed retail store, purchase up to 1 gram of flower or edibles with up to 10 milligrams of THC and use it in a separate indoor or outdoor area that meets specific standards.

The rules went into effect on April 11. Izon says he started the application process the same day.

With his public notice posted and an ad in the local newspaper, Izon says it'll still take a couple weeks before his application is complete.

The director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office, Erika McConnell, said in an email that she doesn't anticipate receiving any on-site consumption applications until early may.

“So the earliest an application could get to the board (absent a special meeting) is the July 10-12 meeting,” McConnell wrote. “If an endorsement application was approved at the July meeting and was essentially ready to go, we would be able to inspect shortly afterwards and then they could open.”

Meanwhile Izon's already exploring more areas on his property to entice customers, including the bank of the Matanuska River, where he hopes people will be able to be able to relax after consuming cannabis products.

While on-site consumption has been approved by the state, the rules say local governments can create restrictions in their areas with ballot measures or ordinances.

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