Alaska marijuana sales could begin before November

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Alaska, the newest adult-use cannabis market in the United States, could begin serving customers before the start of November.

That’s according to Cynthia Franklin, the director of Alaska’s Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office, who said in an email to Marijuana Business Daily that the Marijuana Control Board is doing “an excellent job of moving toward full industry operations and investment.”

“I cannot tell you the exact date the first retail marijuana store in Alaska will open, but I can assure you it will be long before February and perhaps before Nov. 1,” Franklin wrote.

She expressed frustration with prior reports stating that Alaska’s rec market may not open to customers until February 2017.

Franklin also noted that the state has thus far issued business licenses for 60 cultivation operations – 12 of which are already growing cannabis – as well as 17 retailers, four product manufacturers and two testing labs. One of those labs is expected to be in compliance with all state rules by Oct. 15, which means product could be tested and ready for sale soon afterward.

A retail license recipient in Skagway is also slated for an “empty shelf inspection” by a Juneau-based state official on Oct. 4, which suggests that if it passes it could be the first rec shop to open its doors to the public.