People queue for first Alaska pot shop

2016-10-30 11:54
Protesters smoke marijuana during a demonstration against new government legislation calling for the creation of a "weed pass" and the stopping of the substance's sale to foreigners, in Amsterdam, earlier this year. (File, AFP)

Protesters smoke marijuana during a demonstration against new government legislation calling for the creation of a "weed pass" and the stopping of the substance's sale to foreigners, in Amsterdam, earlier this year. (File, AFP)

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Anchorage - Alaska's first marijuana retail outlet opened to a throng of customers on Saturday, two years after voters approved allowing people 21 and older to recreationally use dagga.

More than 250 people lined up outside Herbal Outfitters in Valdez, store owner Richard Ballow said. Customers came from as far away as Anchorage and Fairbanks, more than 560km to the north.

READ: 1 000s march in Cape Town to demand legalisation of cannabis

The opening Saturday at "high noon" marks the first time it's legal to buy dagga under a voter initiative approved in November 2014. Voter approval made it legal under state law to possess up to 28g of marijuana outside of a home.

"It's a historic moment," Ballow said. "I feel like I am blessed and honoured to be a part of this."

The state's first testing lab, CannTest, opened in Anchorage Monday after clearing regulatory hurdles. It will test cannabis flowers, edibles and concentrates.

Herbal Outfitters' general manager, Derek Morris, said the store will initially carry only dried cannabis flowers. He said manufacturers of edibles and concentrates are still in various stages of the permitting process.

In Fairbanks, two marijuana retail stores are planning to open next week after final inspections are completed, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported. A third Fairbanks store plans to open in about one month.

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