Monday, October 09, 2017

Intro To Anchorage Cannabis Market 2: Alaska Fireweed

A few days ago I posted part 1 of what might turn out to be a series of posts on cannabis shops in Anchorage.  That first post will probably be the most detailed, since it was the first and I won't have to repeat all the explanations of what different terms mean and how things are done.  At the second shop I visited, also downtown, a few blocks from the first one on 4th Avenue in the most touristy part of town, my stay was shorter, since a lot of my more generic questions had already been answered.

So, here's Alaska Fireweed.

It used to be a skate and ski board shop.  If you read the Anchorage Press, Will Ingram, who writes the weekly column on weed, is, according to his LinkedIn page, the general manager of Alaska Fireweed.  That column will tell you far more than I ever can about cannabis in Alaska.

On walking in to this store, there's a separation from the rest of the store, but it doesn't have a separate lobby.  It's more like walking into someplace where you have to give your ticket (or in this case show your id) before you get fully in.

This is Jason at the door.  Note I've merged two different pictures here and in doing that I had to cut out the divider that keeps you from wandering into the store on the left before getting id'd.

Jason handed me over to salesperson Mark who was happy to answer my questions.  Unlike Great Northern Cannabis, where they said they grow all their own cannabis in South Anchorage, Alaska Fireweed gets theirs from a variety of growers.  Mark mentioned there were places  on the Kenai Peninsula and the Matsu valley particularly.

When I asked my Big Mac question (a not very successful attempt to find out what was the most popular product) he people come in and buy a couple of grams, they buy pre-rolls, and edibles. It's like a liquor store now, and people stop by on the way home from work and buy cannabis they way they buy a bottle of wine.   And they're hoping that before long there will be room in the back where people can consume on the premises.

I asked whether this was a good job and he enthusiastically said it was.  Wages?  He said $12-15/hour.  But he also sells real estate.  This is just one job and it's lots of fun.  You meet all kinds of people.

Here your product comes in a plastic packet like this one.  Everything is labeled, there's more information, I think, on the back about testing.

He said most customers were smoking before it was legal and I asked why, since they knew how to buy it already, would they come to a shop where it costs more.

Several reasons, he said.

First, it's tested.  You know exactly what you're getting and how much.  That's a big deal.
Second, you have a lot more choices of products.  For example, he showed me an E*Blunt.

This is like an e-cigarette, but it has . . .  I realized as I was writing this that I didn't ask enough questions.  I could see that it had a USB port and I was puzzled.  That's to charge the battery he said.  You can see the little vial of cannabis oil.  I think it has a specific name, but I didn't write it down.  So I googled E*Blunt.  It turns out this is an Alaskan invention.  From the E*Blunt website:
"E * Blunt was developed in Alaska where the weather and elements don’t always allow for ease of smoking. Whether it was snow machining up the farthest peaks, skiing down an untouched mountain, fly fishing out of the back of the a boat or teeing off on the back nine, keeping a joint lit or even just dry was a constant battle. So with a lot of patience from my wife and many sleepless nights I set out to make a great tasting, discreet and easy way to smoke. With the help of some great people and a lot of good effort we are proud to present E * Blunt flavored vapes. The easy to use, great tasting, healthier way to consume. Enjoy responsibly in extreme places everywhere."
And about this particular product:
"E * Blunt Slims are rechargeable with a USB attachment, comes with a stylus tip and can be used with any exchangeable cartridges."
It comes in a lot of different flavors.  And it's not cheap.  Mark was selling it for $90.  Ah, I said, but it has a cartridge, so you can just buy that next time.  Well, it turns out, it's the oil that gets the price up.  A new cartridge is $80.  Mark said the lawyers buy these

Below are various items that were in the glass case.  I didn't ask questions.  That leaves lots of questions for the next couple of shops I visit.  And I haven't really looked at the edibles either.  

It might take a while to finish this series.  It's starting to be our travel season.  In the summer our granddaughter came to visit us.  And now it's our turn to visit her and her cousins.  So we'll be in and out of Alaska.  But I'll get this done eventually.


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