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

Editor, Valdez Star 

First legal pot sale in Alaska took place in Valdez Saturday

Local man made statewide history at the counter of Herbal Outfitters


Valdez Star photo

Michael Holcombe's legal purchase of marijuana came under intense media attention.

Michael Holcombe of Valdez made history Saturday as Alaska's first legal buyer of marijuana.

Herbal Outfitters - Alaska's second store to receive a business license to legally sell pot, - was the first to open its doors.

The store jokingly referred to the 12 p.m. opening as "high noon" according to manager Derek Morris.

Two other buyers who had come early and would have been the first customer's of Herbal Outfitters but they relinquished their spot at the head of the line when Holcombe stated he had waited 46 years to legally buy marijuana.

TV crews from Anchorage as well as online and print media crowded around Holcombe as he made his purchases while an anxious crowd awaited their chance to enter the Fairbanks St store.

The store's owner, Rick Ballow, said the store served over 250 customers during Saturday's grand opening.

While the state's marijuana control board has begun issuing retail marijuana licenses, marijuana growers are struggling to keep up demand and so far only one testing facility has been licensed - creating a shortage of legally available marijuana.

Stores in Fairbanks are hoping to open this week according to news reports.

The labs are charged with testing marijuana, concentrates and edibles for purity and strength.

Valdez Star photo

Dozens of customers waited out in the rain for the grand opening of Herbal Outfitters, the Alaska's first legal retail marijuana store.

Herbal Outfitters opened to sell various strains of marijuana buds - but did not yet have edibles and were limited to one concentrate sans THC.

Licensed testing facilities are the real hold up.

CannTest LLC, operating in an industrial area in Anchorage, cleared regulatory requirements and began testing samples late last month - and Herbal Outfitters was the first retail outlet to receive tested products.

Morris said Herbal Outfitters will be adding concentrates and edibles to its product menu as they become available.

In addition to marijuana, the store offers a large selection of pipes, rolling papers, vaporizers and containers. Hats, T-shirts and other apparel are also for sale in the store.

Security at the store is tight. Customers, who must be over the age of 21, must show valid ID in a locked entryway before they can enter the main part of the store.


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