Anchorage sees first retail pot store open Thursday

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Residents in Alaska’s largest city are about to join a party that’s been more than two years in the making.

Anchorage’s first retail marijuana store will open Thursday, and it’s likely to be a party atmosphere.

The Arctic Herbery will open, appropriately enough, at high noon in a small, nondescript store in an industrial and residential neighborhood in midtown Anchorage. Parking is so sparse, a shuttle bus has been set up to deliver customers from a shopping area about 3 miles away to the store.

People are expected to line up well before hand, but they will have to stay outside. By law, only eight people are allowed inside the shop at any given time, and that includes employees.

Owner Bryant Thorp has arranged to sell three different strains of marijuana from Black Rapids LLC, a cultivation facility located in North Pole. “One of them is some of the best that AK has seen at 22% THC,” Thorp wrote in a text to The Associated Press earlier this week.

While this will be Anchorage’s first legal retail store, others have opened in cities across the state. The first was Herbal Outfitters in Valdez, on Oct. 29.

Since then, fewer than 10 other stores have opened across the state, but more are planned.

Alaskans in November 2014 approved the recreational use of marijuana for those 21 and older. State regulators have spent the time since setting up the new industry.

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board is still wrestling with proposed rules that would allow onsite consumption of marijuana or marijuana products in authorized retails stores. The board is taking public comment until Jan. 13.