Nearly two years after Alaskans voted to legalize recreational marijuana, the state’s first retail location — Herbal Outfitters — opened on Saturday in Valdez.
Michael Holcombe, a 63-year-old retiree, was the store’s first customer, purchasing five strains and exiting Herbal Outfitters to a hero’s welcome:
Each strain was put in a small plastic bag, then in an opaque black container, which was labeled, and placed in a brown paper bag.
After making his historic purchase, Holcombe walked outside the front door and shouted, “First bag!”
The crowd cheered.
Alaska Dispatch News captured the scene in the video below.
Customers traveled from as far as Anchorage (a six hour drive) to attend the historic opening and, of course, make purchases. Anchorage resident Hannah Frost told ADN she and her husband showed up expecting to buy one or two grams. They left the store with seven.
At least two more shops are opening in Alaska this week, but the excitement at Herbal Outfitters could potentially be short-lived: Valdez will vote next May on whether to ban commercial marijuana.