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Alaska One of Few States to Allow Cannabis Lounges, but Pandemic Paused Plans

www.insurancejournal.com June 23, 2021
Alaska One of Few States to Allow Cannabis Lounges, but Pandemic Paused Plans

Regulators amid much fanfare in early 2020 approved two cannabis lounges in Alaska, making it one of the few states where customers would be allowed to use marijuana at retail pot shops.

Then the pandemic hit.

One of the sites opened briefly in Ketchikan in October, near the start of a statewide COVID-19 surge that an owner said forced it to hit pause. The other, in Fairbanks, hopes to open later this year.

Records show a small number of other shop owners have filed paperwork signaling plans to seek approval for consumption hangouts – where customers can smoke marijuana or eat or drink marijuana products – though the virus has caused some of them to delay their efforts too.

One is Joe McAneney, who owns The High Expedition Co. in the tourist town of Talkeetna. He has long envisioned a two-story lounge behind his shop, with a “cigar bar feel” and views of the northern lights and Denali, North America’s highest peak. McAneney said he recently considered pursuing an interim plan, such as refurbishing old buses in which private parties could gather to partake for set blocks of time, but thought better of it.


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