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Long line for first legal cannabis sales in Ketchikan

Travis Carter gets some cannabis buds out to measure for a customer while Mark Woodward checks an ID on the opening day for Ketchikan’s Stoney Moose. (Photo by Leila Kheiry/KRBD)
Travis Carter gets some cannabis buds out to measure for a customer while Mark Woodward checks an ID on the opening day for Ketchikan’s Stoney Moose. (Photo by Leila Kheiry/KRBD)

Ketchikan’s first marijuana retail store opened its doors to customers at about 4:30 p.m. Monday, which was a few days later than originally planned.

The 50-plus people in line were happy to buy legal cannabis for the first time in Alaska’s First City.

The stated opening time for the Stoney Moose on Stedman Street was 4 p.m., and the first couple of people in line were there by 3.

Nicholas Thayer was first, and said he’s eager to support the legal market.

“It will teach the idea that you don’t have to wait three hours in a parking lot somewhere,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be sketchy anymore.”

By about 3:30, a few more people had joined the line.

Among them was Jeremiah Hayward. Legalization was a move in the right direction, he said, so people don’t have to hang out in dark alleys and buy from dealers.

“It can be taxed, and put toward schools and what not,” he said.

Gail Jackson was about fifth in line, and said coming to the store opening meant she’d probably be late for work. She’s happy to see marijuana finally become legal.

“They used to say it’s a gateway drug. Alcohol is so much more a gateway drug,” she said.

As 4 o’clock drew closer, more and more people arrived and lined up. A jovial party-style atmosphere developed with lots of jokes and speculation about what kinds of marijuana the Stoney Moose would offer.

Co-owner Mark Woodward came out, and said they were still setting up to make sure they followed all the state requirements.

He gave an update to the now approximately 55 people in line.

“We’ll make sure everyone is taken care of today,” he said. “We have pre-rolls, we have eight other different types. They’re really good. Chem Dog – you can get Chem Dog, not a lot, but from Sitka – it’s fantastic. So be patient! We’ll open the door in just a couple minutes.”

Chem Dog? Apparently, it’s a well-known variety with high THC – that’s the active chemical in pot, that makes you high.

Tim White, second in line, gave a history.

“Chem dog was found at a Grateful Dead concert. A bud was given to an old boy on the concert, and he took it back to the East Coast, where he found five seeds,” he said. “Later on, some more buds were sent to him, they had three seeds. He grew those seeds. That’s where Chem Dog came from.”

There was more general discussion about marijuana varieties, and then, at about 4:30 p.m., Stoney Moose co-owner Eric Reimer opened the door to start letting people in.

“Oh, yeah! How’s everyone doing?” he said. “Sorry about the wait. It’s kind of complicated getting stuff going in there, but I think we’re ready.”

It’s a tiny shop, so they only let in a few people at a time. The first customer – Nicholas Thayer – was ready and eager after his 90-minute vigil.

“Which one has the higher THC?” he asked. “I’ll take a pre-roll of Cookies and Cream, and a gram of Chem Dog.”

They carefully measured out a gram of Chem Dog, and packaged it up in a secure pouch, then packaged the pre-rolled joint in another pouch. Thayer paid for his purchase, and there it was: The first legal sale in Ketchikan.

Woodward was all smiles behind the cash register.

“Eric and I were here last night late, and we were like, ‘Can you believe this is happening?’ When the product got here this weekend, I knew, now it’s changed,” he said. “Now my mind can actually see that this will happen.”

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