The State Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office began accepting marijuana-business license applications on Feb. 24. So far, it has received nearly 200 applications from around the state. But just two of those are from would-be pot proprietors in the Upper Lynn Canal, and they’re both in Skagway.
Coyote and Toad’s Garden, and Remedy Shoppe are potential future pot businesses in Skagway. The first is a proposed cultivation facility and the second, a retail store.
Tara Bass is the owner of the retail business. Bass declined to comment for this story, but according to her application, the shop would be located on 3rd Avenue. Recently passed municipal zoning regulations around pot businesses dictate that a conditional use permit needs to be approved by the planning commission before the shop could open.
Coyote and Toad’s Garden, LLC is a planned cultivation facility owned by Steven Briody and Tiffany Metz, both of Skagway. It is on Rio Faux Lobo Road, out of town off the Klondike Highway. Planning commission chair Orion Hanson says the planned cultivation facility is located in an industrial use zone so no permit is needed.
But before the businesses get to that point, they have to be approved by the state and the municipality. Borough clerk Emily Deach says the public notices have to be posted for 30 days so residents have a chance to weigh in. Then it has to go before the assembly.
Besides that, the question around mandatory testing is still up in the air. There are four different types of licenses – cultivation, retail, testing and manufacturing. Most of the 200 applications are for cultivation – the growing of pot. And just three are for testing facilities – one in Anchorage, one in Fairbanks, and one in Wasilla. So how are rural communities supposed to get their products tested for potency and impurities if transporting pot or pot products is not allowed? The answer still remains to be seen.
Other Southeast towns that have jumped on the pot biz bandwagon are Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Wrangell, Petersburg, and communities on Price of Wales Island.
A new timeline puts state approval for cultivation and testing licenses in mid-June, while retail and manufacturing licenses have to wait until September. According to a release from the state, the delay for retail and manufacturing is needed so that legally grown, tested and tracked marijuana is available before products are manufactured and sold.
In Haines, local regulations or zoning hasn’t been broached officially by the assembly yet. But, interim manager Brad Ryan says, with no licenses submitted yet, they’re not too worried.