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Juneau’s First Marijuana Grow Receives State Approval

Alaska Grow Approved Cannabis Now Magazine
Photo by Elizabeth Jenkins/KTOO


Juneau’s First Marijuana Grow Receives State Approval

The first-ever state-certified commercial marijuana grow in Alaska’s capitol city is scheduled to open doors as early as mid-October.

The farm received it’s final state inspection and a license to cultivate commercial cannabis Aug. 19. Alaska’s first legal cannabis stores are slated to receive their licenses in early September, but The Juneau Empire reports consumers will have to wait a month until the marijuana is actually ready for sale.

Two brothers, James and Giono Barrett, launched Rainforest Farms, which will be Juneau’s first licensed commercial cannabis farm.

“It’s cool to think that someone’s going to purchase the cannabis that comes off of these. I know that’s pretty straightforward, but it’s exciting to me,” James Barrett told The Juneau Empire. “At this point, now that we have our license, it’s all real.”

The Barrett brothers say they currently are growing 300 plants inside. The brothers are growing 55 strains and plan on funneling that number down to 30 strains by the time their product reaches retail storefronts.

Per Alaskan law, each one of the plants will be donning small blue tags in strict accordance with the state’s tracking system. The tags will allow inspectors to track the product from clone to countertop.

Alaska first legalized medical marijuana in 1998 and was the second state to do so, only after the state of California. Dispensaries are not allowed under the medical law, but when Alaska approved adult-use cannabis in 2014 though Measure 2 they began to be established for the recreational market. The new state-appointed Marijuana Control Board will oversee the state’s new adult-use marijuana program, which has been revised several times since the vote two years ago.

Alaska’s new regulatory system has already gone through drastic changes in its early days. Just weeks ago, Alaska Marijuana Control Board member Bruce Schulte was dishonorably expelled from his seat on the board by  Gov. Bill Walker.

“While I have appreciated your willingness to serve on the Marijuana Control Board, I have determined that your continued representation on this board is not in the best interest of Alaska,” Walker wrote in the letter. Schulte reportedly got no explanation and was replaced on the board by Nicholas Miller on Aug. 24.

Alaska is also beginning to see cannabis lab-testing facilities, where strains can be verified. Southeast Alaska Laboratories LLC., was the first business to apply for a conditional use permit as a lab testing facility and state marijuana establishment license.

Are you planning a trip to Alaska to experience adult-use marijuana? Let us know in the comments below.

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