Is Fairbanks Becoming Alaska’s Marijuana Capital?

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Just as Denver is the epicenter of Colorado’s recreational cannabis industry, it appears Fairbanks is poised to be the somewhat unlikely hub of Alaska’s upcoming rec trade.

Thanks to less bureaucratic red tape, Fairbanks has become the most welcoming municipality when it comes to marijuana companies looking to set up shop, according to the Alaska Dispatch News. Alaska voters approved adult-use marijuana in February 2015.

Fairbanks is the second most populous city in the state, with just over 31,000 people. It’s located 360 miles inland from the coastal city of Anchorage.

The city has thus far approved 47 zoning permits, including 10 retail shops, four manufacturing facilities, and 33 grow operations. Five more permits are pending.

And that’s the key: There’s no local licensing process, only zoning. That means MJ businesses deal with less red tape, making Fairbanks a more attractive home base than Anchorage and Juneau, Alaska’s two other biggest cities.

The more MJ business friendly environment also means that Fairbanks cannabis cultivators will probably get a jump on their competitors in other cities, and have crops ready for sale well before those growing elsewhere.