This storefront at 159 S. Franklin Street, seen Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, has been approved by the Alaska Marijuana Control Board as the site of the city’s newest retail marijuana shop. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

This storefront at 159 S. Franklin Street, seen Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, has been approved by the Alaska Marijuana Control Board as the site of the city’s newest retail marijuana shop. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

Two new pot shops approved for Juneau

One will be on Franklin Street; another is slated for Lemon Creek

Two new marijuana shops are coming to Juneau, courtesy of the Alaska Marijuana Control Board.

In its three-day Fairbanks meeting this week, the board approved retail licenses for the Alaskan Kush Company (159 S. Franklin St.) and Thunder Cloud 9 (5310 Commercial Boulevard, Suite 2B). Also approved was North Star Gardens, a marijuana farm that will be located beneath Thunder Cloud 9 in a building on the opposite side of Commercial Boulevard from Costco.

“We’re excited. It’s been a long road to get to this point,” said Herb Smyth of Alaskan Kush Company after the board approved his license on Thursday.

That road isn’t quite finished, either. Smyth and his business partner Casey Wilkins (owner of Stoned Salmon Farms) have to finish renovations on the Franklin Street building, finalize their municipal licenses, then receive one last inspection from state regulators. When those steps are complete — something that will take until at least mid-September — they can open the doors of the new shop.

A similar process awaits the owners of Thunder Cloud 9, Jamie Letterman and Robert Lonsdale, and it isn’t clear how long it will take that business to open its doors. A phone call to the number listed on its marijuana license was not returned by Friday afternoon.

The two businesses will join an increasingly crowded market for marijuana in the capital city. If they open their doors as scheduled, they will become the sixth and seventh retail marijuana shops in Juneau. On a per-capita basis, that’s one for every 4,714 residents. To put that figure into perspective, Juneau has one alcohol-serving business (bar, restauraunt, package store or manufacturer) for every 393 people.

“I think there’s plenty of room for everybody to get a piece of the pie,” Wilkins said. “Whoever has quality product is going to succeed.”

Thunder Cloud 9 will be located on the second floor of a building that also houses Prindles carpet cleaning. Marijuana board chairman Mark Springer referred to it as a “postage-stamp store” at 24 feet by 30 feet.

Downtown, the Alaskan Kush Company will be a traditional storefront akin to Rainforest Farms or The Fireweed Factory.

Smyth and Wilkins aren’t ready to reveal what the store will look like, but each said they intend to offer a fresh space with a variety of strains at different price levels and strengths.

“We hope we’re well-received when we get the door open,” Smyth said.

• Contact reporter James Brooks at or 523-2258.

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