A marijuana dispensary in Ketchikan, Alaska, is once again offering onsite consumption of Cannabis, months after the pandemic temporarily closed that part of the business.
Kanoe Zantuya, an owner of Cannabis Corner, said a small indoor consumption area has reopened, attracting both locals and tourists, reports the Associated Press. The smoking lounge had been open for about three weeks in October before closing amid the pandemic
People just need a spot where they can smoke and it’s legal, according to Zantuya. “There are other people who just like the idea of smoking in a cannabis lounge.”
The lounge tied to the store a few miles outside Ketchikan offers couches, a fireplace, TV, and record player.
There are more entertainment options, too, in what sounds like a stoner’s paradise: a free arcade game and adult coloring books. “I’d say 95% of the people who come in end up coloring at some point,” Zantuya said.
Among other requirements, retailers offering onsite consumption must have ventilation systems and pay about $3,000 for a license. There are daily limits on how much cannabis a customer can consume.
‘Definitely A Nice Treat After Work’
Keagan Widmier, 28, a construction worker from Sitka, visited the smoking lounge recently with his brother, Sage Widmier.
“This is the first legal smoking room I’ve ever been in,” Keagan said. “It’s definitely a nice treat after work, a nice way to relax.”
The brothers burned a doob and played an arcade game before taking a taxi to play football. The store requires customers to either have a designated driver or order a taxi.
Cannabis Corner and Good Titrations in Fairbanks are also both offering onsite consumption. Two other stores in Alaska have received onsite consumption approval but haven’t yet opened.
Onsite consumption solves a problem for tourists. They’ve been allowed to buy Cannabis in Alaska but then they can’t legally consume it in public without risking a $100 fine.
Including onsite consumption as as option is “brilliant,” according to Lacy Wilcox, president of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association board. “Otherwise we are making criminals of our tourists.”
Here Comes Cruise Season
Rainforest Farms, a retail Cannabis shop in Juneau, plans to close in September and reopen in November as a cannabis café, serving edibles only. Co-owner James Barrett hopes to get state approval in October for onsite consumption.
That’s in time for next year’s cruise season. An unleashed flood of pandemic-frustrated cruise ship passengers will likely visit Alaska next year.
With new cruise ship docks open in Ketchikan, the town and Alaska at large, including Cannabis shops, are definitely ready for the flow of tourism dollars to resume.