As the year comes to an end it’s nice to see things coming together – for the most part – for those who have begun the cannabis industry within the state of Alaska. The first cultivation licenses were given out over the summer – with 12 total commercial growers now up and running throughout the state – and now those facilities are harvesting their very first legal crops of commercial cannabis. Just in time too, as the first dispensaries are supposed to be licensed within the first week of October, with hopes of opening shortly thereafter.
Of those 12 growers, only three have actually begun to harvest their crops – Greatland Ganja, Subsistence Products and Rosie Creek Farm. Greatland Ganja has already harvested, dried and are in the process of curing the first 75 pounds of cannabis. They are hoping that the rest of this harvest will be at least 100 pounds. Rosie Creek Farm has been pulling their crops for a month already and Subsistence Products started harvesting just this week. All in all there is definitely a healthy sized first harvest preparing to enter the Alaskan seed-to-sale system.
Unfortunately, once the crops are finished curing, they still aren’t ready to go to retail dispensaries. All of the crops will still need to be tested by a state certified lab – the only problem being there are only 2 labs, neither one is open yet and both of them are in Anchorage – about a six hour drive from many of the cultivation facilities, such as Greatland Ganja, located in Fairbanks.
CannTest hopes to be open by mid-October and AK Green Labs is aiming for early November – and by then they will have quite a lot of bud to get through testing before anything will be ready to go on the shelves of the dispensaries. The good news is once both labs are open and all the cannabis from these first crops has been tested there surely won’t be a short supply for those hoping to be the first to purchase Alaska’s legal crops.
“I look at this as a successful business right now because we’ve made it this far. The licensing has been a huge hurdle and funding has been a huge hurdle,” Arthur of Greatland Ganja said. “But the big landmark for me is when we start to see income. No business is successful without making income, and at this stage of the game we have not made a dime.”
Those who have taken the time and money to invest in building the cannabis industry in Alaska should all be celebrating each and every small win along the way – it’s no small accomplishment to grow such a large cannabis crop, whether you are moving up to a bigger facility in a switch from medical marijuana to commercial or are entirely new to the game.