He and other business owners say they have been able to weather the pandemic, even with last year’s crash in tourist numbers. Marijuana businesses were allowed to stay open, and he said he was pleased by the level of support from Alaskans and independent travelers.
The business also has found ways to run more efficiently, such as with online ordering, he said.
Dan Peters, an owner of GoodSinse in Fairbanks, said he was surprised by how many people were buying cannabis. “I think maybe even bulk amounts of purchasing were happening,” he said.
“I just assume that people are stuck at home and needed things to do,” he said. “That’s something fun that doesn’t cause too much trouble.”
GoodSinse was one of the first two businesses approved for on-site use by the state Marijuana Control Board in January 2020. Over the last year, Peters said he focused on other aspects of the business, which include retail, cultivation and manufacturing, because the pandemic — and social distancing — made it hard to create the experience he wanted for the planned café-style consumption area.
As more people are vaccinated, he said he expects to resume work on the consumption area and hopes to open it this summer.
Elsewhere in the U.S., a small number of cities, including in California, have authorized marijuana lounges. But Chris Lindsey, director of government relations with the Marijuana Policy Project, said on-site consumption is so new, “we don’t know yet if it’s a great business model.”