A look at Alaska’s cannabis industry, 6 years in

Ryan Tunseth opened East Rip in downtown Kenai in 2018. He sources his product locally, from Kenai Peninsula cultivators. (Sabine Poux/KDLL)

The Kenai Peninsula has been a key player in Alaska’s budding cannabis industry since the state legalized recreational marijuana use six years ago, with over 70 licenses in play for cultivators and retailers.

One of those licenses belongs to East Rip, off the Kenai Spur Highway. Ryan Tunseth opened the shop in 2018 and is treasurer of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association.

KDLL’s Sabine Poux spoke to Tunseth about how the industry has changed since 2015 and where he thinks it’s going. He says what cannabis businesses need most now is access to normal banking.

“The industry needs a responsible and safe way to bank,” Tunseth said. “Everything’s in cash. We pay our employees in cash. We pay vendors in cash. We pay our taxes in cash. And because of that, it’s quite dangerous.”

Listen to the full interview here:

KDLL - Kenai

KDLL is our partner station in Kenai. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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