The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

Editor, Valdez Star 

Legal marijuana shop will open for business in Valdez Saturday

Herbal Outfitters received the second license for retail pot in the Alaska


Photo courtesy Herbal Outfitters

Herbal Outfitter's owner Rick Ballow (left) receives his marijuana business license from the state's inspector (right) as manager Derek Morris looks on.

The State of Alaska issued its second-ever retail marijuana license in Valdez last week - and the store's manager says it will open for business this Saturday.

"We will have flower product in the store," said Derek Morris, manager of Herbal Outfitters.

The retail marijuana business passed its state inspection last week and owner Rick Ballow received his state license on the spot.

Saturday's grand opening at noon will be a first for Valdez - and possibly Alaska.

"That is going to be our first day we are open to the public," Morris said in an interview Monday afternoon. "It will be open to the public, they can come in."

The store is located downtown at 165 Fairbanks St.

State law has strict security requirements and anyone entering the premises must be at least 21 years of age and have a valid photo ID to prove it.

"Everybody has to have an ID" he said. " Twenty-one and up."

Morris said the first 100 customers will receive a door prize.

Saturday customers will also get a chance to meet vendors and check out the merchandise, which will include marijuana.

Alaska voters elected to allow recreational marijuana sales in the November, 2014 elections. The complexity of the law, which also stipulated that marijuana sales be regulated like alcohol, took vast amounts of time, including public hearings, creation of a marijuana regulatory board and approval of regulations.

All marijuana and marijuana products must be tested in state approved testing facilities, which also added another layer of protection for the consumer, but also added to the amount of time it has taken for the state to issue legal retail licenses .

The store will be selling more than marijuana.

Hemp products such as hats and carry cases will be for sale, as well as other products that contain specific caniboids that have differing properties.

Not all of the products are designed to get the user high, but to heal specific ailments without the psychoactive effects usually associated with marijuana use.

Photo courtesy Herbal Outfitters

Rick Ballow gives a thumbs up while paperwork is completed for the Herbal Outfitters business license.

"It's is amazing with the things that they can do," Morris said earlier in the week.

Some are edible, some are consumed with vaporizers (which avoids smoke) and some are oils for topical use or inhalation through the lungs. Some products are used as remedies for long-term maintenance like taking a vitamin supplement or food additive.

"It's the same thing," Morris said. "You can drink the whole bottle and you will never get high."

The store also features gear such as vaporizers, pipes, stash boxes and more.

Morris said the store has been waiting for the state's tracking system to come online before legal marijuana products could leave the vendor and be transported to Valdez for sale.


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