If you walk into the Alaskan Kush Company store on Franklin Street wearing Xtratufs, you’ll get a discount on your marijuana.
Casey Wilkins, the co-owner of the new pot shop, was born and raised in Juneau and wanted to make sure his store takes good care of other Juneauites.
“It’s just a Southeast Alaska staple,” Wilkins said of the Xtratuf discount. “It’s another something we do for our locals.”
The store’s grand opening celebration isn’t until Dec. 20 (next Thursday), but it’s been quietly open for a few weeks. The store, located between El Sombrero and the Alaskan Hotel on Franklin Street, is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.
What sets Alaskan Kush Company apart — besides the Xtratuf discount — is the variety it offers. On a recent Tuesday, the store had 21 strains available, costing between $13 and $20 per gram.
Wilkins, 38, also owns Stoned Salmon Farms, which supplies most of the product for the store. The farm’s 6,000-square foot building in the Lemon Creek area has multiple large grow rooms and Wilkins hopes to put in a kitchen on the top floor to make edibles. Nick Odio, a team member at Stoned Salmon Farms, said they’ve grown more than 50 strains in two harvests and they have another 100 or so in their seed bank for the future. Wilkins said most grow projects have between four and 20 varieties.
Wilkins said he was living in California for years but moved back to Juneau as soon as the industry was legalized in Alaska. He’s been growing since about 2003, and his father also has grown marijuana and gave Wilkins some tips.
The seeds of the company were sown years ago, and the team came together almost by accident.
Wilkins and Odio met each other about a decade ago, and when Wilkins decided to get started he called Odio up. Odio was on a cross-country road trip at the time, and decided to turn his car north and come to Alaska. At the ferry terminal, Odio met Simon Greer, who has also become a team member.
One of Odio’s college classmates, Sam Hedrick, then moved up from Colorado to help run the administrative side of the business. Juneau local Herb Smythe is Wilkins’ partner in owning Alaskan Kush Company, and Amy Herrick manages the shop.
It took years to get through the state’s permitting process, and Wilkins said it’s exciting to be done with that part of it.
“Every hoop that they gave us, we’ve jumped through it,” Wilkins said.
They’re keeping an eye on the future as well, watching for a ruling about whether on-site consumption will be allowed. Half of the retail space is still empty, as Wilkins is keeping his options open. If on-site consumption is allowed, he hopes to make that area a place for people to smoke. If it isn’t allowed, the spot could become a gift shop.
Even at Stoned Salmon Farms, the team members are preparing to host people. They own the empty lot next to the building, and if on-site consumption is allowed, they hope to turn that lot into an outdoor smoking area and possibly some kind of event space. Wilkins envisions showing movies projected on the side of the farm facility for people in the outdoor area.
The local and statewide markets are becoming more and more saturated with pot shops, but Wilkins said there’s an extremely cordial relationship between the owners. He said he knows and likes the other growers in town. They’re also selling other farms’ and companies’ products in the shop.
Odio said it’s been fun to talk with others in the industry around the state, as they’re all going through similar experiences.
“The industry’s full of really cool people who are all kind of like-minded and we’re all trying to figure it out together as the industry grows,” Odio said. “No pun intended.”
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.