In the last few months, the number of aspiring Haines marijuana business owners has gone from zero to three. Plans for several cultivation facilities and retail shops are now up for approval.
In April, Carol Waldo applied for a license to open Glacier Bay Farms, a cultivation facility, on Helms Loop.
She was the first Haines resident to take that step since marijuana was legalized in Alaska in 2015.
Since then, she’s also sought a license to open a retail marijuana store across from the cruise ship dock at 75 Beach Rd.
Now, two more residents are pursuing pot businesses.
Shawn McNamara wants to open a cultivation facility at 1 Letnikof Drive. He also submitted an application to open a retail marijuana shop at Mile 0 of the Haines Highway.
McNamara did not return a request for comment on this story.
Erika Merklin hopes to open Resurrected Dreams, a limited marijuana cultivation facility.
“I am looking for a vocation in Haines that is going to be sustainable and that I will be able to make a living wage at,” says Merklin.
Limited cultivation facilities are 500 square feet or less. Merklin says she hopes to eventually move toward a larger-scale business. She says she’s not sure yet where she would sell her product.
“I don’t have plans yet,” says Merklin. “I would love to be able to sell right here in Haines, it would be convenient. I know there is a dispensary in Skagway and I believe one in Juneau so hopefully just locally.”
If approved, Merklin’s business would be located on Chilkat Lake Rd.
All of the applications are still pending approval from the state. They also need to be endorsed by the assembly before the state gives the final go-ahead.
If the businesses were approved, Haines could have two retail marijuana shops and two cultivation facilities.
There is currently nothing in borough code that regulates marijuana businesses locally. Local governments are allowed to be more restrictive than the state, but they can’t be less restrictive.
The assembly was set to discuss pending business applications as a committee of the whole earlier this week, but that meeting was postponed. It will likely be rescheduled for mid to late July.
Residents can submit comments on the applications through the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Board.
Marijuana businesses have opened in other towns in Southeast, including Juneau, Petersburg and Skagway.