Two years after the legalization of marijuana in Alaska, Herbal Outfitters in Valdez opened its doors to anyone aged over 21 to buy legal pot.

Although the drug is now considered legal, state regulations indicate that it is unlawful to consume pot in a public place. After legalizing marijuana without too many restrictions, Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) published a series of guidelines for consuming pot safely and within the jurisdiction of law.

Cannabis, Alaska
The products available at Herbal Outfitters. Image credit: Herbal Outfitters Facebook.

High up in Alaska

Currently, Herbal Outfitters only sells dried bud. Derek Morris, the store’s general manager, stated that edibles and other types of marijuana-based products are in the process of being developed for sale. He also assured that the store would see many customers in the first weeks after its opening day, having people travel across the state for buying legal marijuana.

On the upcoming weeks, at least three other marijuana stores will open their doors in Fairbanks, leading Alaska to be another state for pot tourism. This would result in tax revenue and a brand new market with a high level of internal competition.

Herbal Outfitters opens days after the first cannabis testing lab was inaugurated in Anchorage, called CannTest. It will focus on developing better marijuana products, including buds, edibles, and extracts.

“Today is a day for the history books; we’re honored to be the first retail marijuana store in Alaska to open our doors to the public! Today at high noon we open our doors, if you’re over 21 and have a valid ID come down and be part of history with us. We smoked some Blue Dream from Green Rush Gardens LLC last night and it tasted as good as it looks,” said Herbal Outfitters on Facebook.

Clear guidelines for marijuana consumption

The state’s DHSS deemed driving while under the influence of marijuana as unsafe, which could result in the driver’s arrest. Even when marijuana consumption and possession is now legal, people should abstain from driving, biking or using heavy machinery, since pot can impair reaction time and concentration.

Driving while high can result in fatal accidents, even if the driver considers that they know how to drive high. The DHSS cites a report where researchers confirmed that driving while high may double the risk of crashing.

Alaskan laws state that marijuana consumption is restricted for anyone younger than 21. It also banned marijuana consumption in venues, parks, or forests. Private owners may impose policies that prohibit marijuana use, just like the laws that came from the secondhand smoke from tobacco.

Anyone 21 years old or older is allowed to grow no more than six marijuana plants, while only three of them can be flowering at the same time. Tourists can buy marijuana in Alaska, but they are forbidden from leaving the state with marijuana products

The DHSS also advises watching over marijuana addiction, which is psychological rather than physiological. The Cannabis Use Disorder Identification Test suggests that marijuana users can be considered addicts if they are stoned one or two hours on a daily basis, if they are too stoned to complete big tasks or commitments, or if they begin to take more risks while under the effects of marijuana. A single aforementioned event may not indicate addiction, but an identifiable pattern could deem a patient as a potential addict.

Source: Alaska DHSS