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Alaska Marijuana News

Before and after: How retail marijuana has changed storefronts across Anchorage

  • Author: Annie Zak
  • Updated: 4 days ago
  • Published 4 days ago

The commercial marijuana industry is still a small part of Alaska's economy, but by the end of 2017 it employed more than 500 people.

That's according to a new report released in early May by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, focusing on the economic impact of Alaska's young cannabis industry.

The sector paid out about $8.5 million in wages in all of 2017, the first full calendar year that retail cannabis stores were open in Alaska. Most of that — $3.8 million — was paid in Anchorage, followed by Fairbanks at $2.1 million.

In January 2017, 79 people (excluding owner-operators) worked for a licensed cannabis business, according to the report, and by December that number grew to 536.

"This new industry creates a small number of direct jobs, including nursery workers, laboratory testers, and retail sales workers," the report said, and it also creates or supports jobs in other sectors — including accountants and state regulators.

Tax revenue from cannabis has generally been increasing since the first retailer opened in October of 2016. January of this year was the month that saw the most tax revenue generated, topping $1 million. The next highest was in October last year, in a month when marijuana retailers said they reaped the benefits of Permanent Fund dividend payments.

Overall, the industry generated $8.3 million in taxes in its first 17 months, according to the labor department, and that doesn't include revenue from local sales tax in places that have it, such as Juneau.

Since the first retail shop opened in Anchorage in 2016, 22 cannabis shops have opened in Alaska's largest city — 21 in the Anchorage Bowl and another in Girdwood.

Legal cannabis has also changed the face of storefronts across Anchorage. One boarded-up building on Minnesota Drive has transformed into a bright business called House of Green.

You can check out locations of all Alaska's cannabis stores using this map.

Here's a before-and-after look at marijuana shops across Anchorage, some of which have transformed more dramatically than others.

Alaskabuds — 1005 E. Fifth Ave.

Alaskabuds in 2016, left, and 2018, right. (Annie Zak / ADN)

Arctic Herbery — 7107 Arctic Blvd.

Arctic Herbery in 2016, left, and 2018, right. (Annie Zak / ADN)

Enlighten Alaska — 2600 Spenard Road

Enlighten Alaska in 2016, left, and 2018, right. (Annie Zak / ADN)

AK Slow Burn Cannabis Outlet — 2042 E. Third Ave.

AK Slow Burn in 2016, left, and 2018, right. (Annie Zak / ADN)

Alaska Fireweed — 715 W. Fourth Ave.

Alaska Fireweed (formerly the snowsports shop AK Boardroom) in 2016, left, and 2018, right. (Annie Zak / ADN)

Alaskan Leaf — 1211 W. 36th Ave., Suite A

Alaskan Leaf in 2016, left, and 2018, right. (Annie Zak / ADN)

Dankorage — 2812 Spenard Road

Dankorage in 2016, left, and 2018, right. (Annie Zak / ADN)

House of Green — 3105 Minnesota Drive

House of Green in 2016, left, and 2018, right. (Annie Zak / ADN)

Raspberry Roots — 501 Raspberry Road

Raspberry Roots in 2016, left, and 2018, right. (Annie Zak / ADN)

Uncle Herb's — 6511 Arctic Spur Road

Uncle Herb’s in 2016, left, and 2018, right. (Annie Zak / ADN)

AK Fuzzy Budz — 2612 Eagle St.

AK Fuzzy Budz (formerly Wise Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation) in 2016, left, and 2018, right. (Annie Zak / ADN)

Alaska's Green Light District — 407 E. Northern Lights Blvd.

Alaska’s Green Light District (formerly Borealis Beauty Boutique) in 2016, left, and 2018, right. (Annie Zak / ADN)

AM Delight — 3902 Spenard Road

AM Delight in 2016, left, and 2018, right. (Annie Zak / ADN)

Hillside Natural Wellness — 8639 Toloff St.

Hillside Natural Wellness in 2016, left, and 2018, right. (Annie Zak / ADN)

AK Frost — 5200 A St.

AK Frost in 2016, left, and 2018, right. (Annie Zak / ADN)

Cannabaska — 521 W. Tudor Road

Alaskasense (operating as Cannabaska) in 2016, left, and 2018, right. (Annie Zak / ADN)

Satori — 221 E. Fifth Ave.

Satori in 2016, left, and 2018, right. (Annie Zak / ADN)

These four shops are also open, but they weren't among the 20 shops closest to opening at the time the Anchorage Daily News took "before" photos of marijuana retail storefronts coming soon in 2016.

Great Northern Cannabis — 541 W. Fourth Ave.

Great Northern Cannabis on May 4, 2018. (Annie Zak / ADN)

AK Joint — 7801 Schoon St.

AK Joint on May 10, 2018. (Annie Zak / ADN)

Catalyst Cannabis Co. — 9900 Old Seward Highway

Catalyst Cannabis Co. opened in February 2018. (Annie Zak / ADN)

Hollyweed 907 — 2429 E. 88th Ave.

Hollyweed 907. (Annie Zak / ADN)

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