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September 2019 Vol. 2 Issue 3

Cannabis Bowl ‘19 U.S. $3.00

September 2019

• Ketchikan’s Frog Mountain jumps in • Making the “Cut” in Fairbanks • Bud Hub: Purple Punch packs flavor • Kotzebue gets first dispensary




INSIDE Alaska Cannabist is a monthly publication of Fairbanks Daily News-Miner LLC, located at 200 N. Cushman St. Fairbanks, Alaska

Richard E. Harris, publisher Mailing address: P.O. Box 70710, Fairbanks, Alaska, 99707

To place an advertisement in Alaska Cannabist, please call 459-7548 or email advertising Editor Rod Boyce 459-7585 Design Julie Stricker Photography editor Eric Engman Staff Writers & photographers Dorothy Chomicz alaska Contributors Matt Buxton Carroll Carrigan Anthony Dellapietro David James Marcey Luther Aliza Sherman Jamie Smith


Cover story: Photos, winners from the 2019 edition of the Great Alaskan Cannabis Bowl.


Ketchikan business Frog Mountain extracts success

results for 32 Promising CBD in fight against opioid addictions

aims to be a 37 Satori destination in Anchorage

Corner: 41 Gadget Bowled over

Grown Cannabis Pot Shots 10 Alaska opens shop above the is your cannabis 42 How Arctic Circle garden growing? Cannabis: 15 Candidly Cannabis for boomers, 44 Food and Drink

Tips to keep weed taste out of edibles

and beyond

Union 1 ends 17 Credit cannabis pilot program 46 Commentary: Introducing “resin cannabis” to lexicon Fairbanks retailer stakes 19 out prime location “Baked Alaska” 47 Terp Nerd: by Jamie Smith 22 Terpenes are the real deal, not just THC

Bud Hub: 23 The New items and some


personal favorites

September 2019 Vol. 2 Issue 3

predicts 30 Nielsen $41 billion in cannabis sales by 2025

Cannabis Bowl ‘19 U.S. $3.00

• Ketchikan’s Frog Mountain jumps in • Making the “Cut” in Fairbanks • Bud Hub: Purple Punch packs flavor • Kotzebue gets first dispensary

A fire eater entertains at the 2019 Great Alaskan Cannabis Bowl in July in Wasilla.

September 2019 — September 2019 — 3



Jason Pfeifer of Frog Mountain collects terpenes from the bottom of the collection vessel on his Eden Labs 5L 2K Hi-Flo CO2 Extraction machine. Photo courtesy of Jason Pfeifer

Lucky frog

Owners extract a successful business after years of experimentation, research Dorothy Chomicz


Alaska Cannabist

ason Pfeifer, the co-owner, operator and chief extraction expert at Frog Mountain in Ketchikan, clearly remembers the day he discovered his call-

ing in life. “I was in college in Anchorage when I saw my first e-cigarette on campus, and I thought to myself, ‘This is what I’m going to do, but with cannabis.’ So I just started figuring out different methods of extraction, different consistencies that came out, and got really nerdy with it.”

4 — September 2019 —

Starting out Pfeifer worked as a commercial fisherman and switched majors from electrical engineering to business finance but always stayed committed to continuing his self-taught perfection of extraction methods. When he first started 12 years ago, he used solvents such as butane,


Cannabist Frog Mountain’s Eden Labs 5 Liter High Flow CO2 Extractor. Photo

courtesy of Jason Pfeifer

but settled on CO2 extraction five years ago because he felt it was the cleanest method. That’s when Frog Mountain was born. Pfeifer had been saving up to buy a fishing boat from his captain, Harold Haines, but instead he convinced Haines to sell the boat to someone else and invest the money in an $110,000 Eden Labs 5 Liter High Flow CO2 Extractor. “Things started looking toward legalization in Alaska, so I talked to the captain and said, ‘Hey, let’s do this.’ He’s been wonderful to me. Without him, none of this would have been possible and I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing,” Pfeifer said. Since cannabis wasn’t yet legal, Pfeifer and Haines decided to take the equipment to Washington state. “I couldn’t have it sitting here just collecting dust, and I wasn’t going to be able to legally run it up here, so the only solution was to barge it to Seattle,” Pfeifer said. “We took it over to East

Wenatchee. I was working with a company called Ladera Farms. They were three cultivator/ producer/processors who could do everything, but they didn’t have the money for equipment. I had the equipment but nowhere to operate it.” Once legalized, the Alaska cannabis industry took a while to get off the ground as the state figured out rules and regulations. Pfeifer and Haines also ran into zoning issues in Ketchikan, and Haines ended up sinking several hundred thousand dollars into a new building and septic system. Pfeifer used homemade solutions and Alaska ingenuity to expand the capabilities of the existing equipment until they could afford more. “I tinkered with things my entire life, growing up. We had processing equipment that I was able to MacGyver because I was familiar enough with things. As we were able to buy stuff, that made it more efficient and more technical,” he said, noting that he used “water

bottles that I rotated through my freezer, so they’d be my ice to keep my extraction equipment cool,” until they were able to purchase commercial chillers.

Why Frog Mountain? Pfeifer and Haines named the business Frog Mountain after their favorite deer hunting spot on Prince of Wales Island. “Frog Mountain is a place where Harold and I find ourselves the most at ease. I am not sure what the real name actually is of the mountain. We wanted to share this incredible view, which is why you will find the picture of Frog Mountain on the back of all of our packaging. The logo was a design from my father, Dr. William Pfeifer. He is a Tlingit artist who has done many years of apprenticeship under world-renowned Tlingit carver Nathan Jackson. The frog represents good luck in many cultures, and in this industry we needed all the help we could get. “It has been a long hard road, but we have met some incredible people along — September 2019 — 5



Jason Pfeifer of Frog Mountain works with the distillation setup he uses for recovering the ethanol used for a process called winterization, where harmful fats and lipids are removed through cold filtration. Photo courtesy of Jason Pfeifer.

the way who have helped make all of this a possibility.”

The extraction process Pfeifer is a firm believer that the CO2 process is superior because he can selectively grab the more fragile components — such as the terpenes — first, and then start extracting the cannabinoids. Also, processes that use petroleum hydrocarbons such as butane and propane are not good because those solvents never fully purge out and “all you’re doing is introducing toxins.” “I’ve seen some videos of other extraction companies’ products catching fire when it’s put onto a hot dab nail. That should never happen. They’ve been playing it off saying it’s the terpenes catching fire. I can put straight terpenes on a hot nail and it’s never going to ignite.” Pfeifer explained the CO2 extraction process in more detail. “It works similar to how a refrigeration

When I’m working in my lab and it smells like a certain strain, I get that experience. So, if I’m running indicas, I have a pretty slow-paced day. If I’m running sativas, or something citrusy, I get a lot more done – Jason Pfeifer

system works. By changing the temperatures and pressures I can change what phase the CO2’s in. So it’s going from a liquid to a supercritical phase, which is a gas and a liquid simultaneously, then it goes to a gas phase, then back to a liquid again, and then it recycles during that phase. When it goes to a gas, the gas can’t carry particles the way the liquid

6 — September 2019 —

does. So the cannabinoids and terpenes and water, or whatever else is extracted from the plant, will then drop down, and the clean CO2 gets recirculated through the system.”

It’s all about the feeling Terpenes, according to Pfeifer, are the

Finished Frog Mountain extract.

key to any good cannabis products. “It’s like aromatherapy. Terpenes are in all botanicals and they give us a feeling. With each of the strains, it’s not the THC that gives you the feeling; the THC amplifies that feeling, but it comes from the terpenes that are present,” he said. “People get caught on these THC numbers and say “‘I want the highest THC, that’s what gives me the effect,’ but it’s not.” Pfeifer’s work output and mood depends on what kind of product he’s working with on any given day. “When I’m working in my lab and it smells like a certain strain, I get that experience. So, if I’m running indicas, I have a pretty slow-paced day. If I’m running sativas, or something citrusy, I get a lot more done,” he said with a chuckle. “I prefer certain strains when I’m making concentrates, because I have to deal with the smell, and it changes my attitude. I

don’t do a lot of earthy and mossy strains because they tend to not give me the energy I want, so I tend to go after fruits like mandarin.” Terpenes can not only change your mood but also can evoke strong memories, according to Pfeifer. “I ran some Grapefruit Juice from Frost Farms in Anchorage, and it smelled like when I lived in Florida and I would section grapefruit for my grandmother in the morning. Exactly like that, and it gave me that mood and triggered those memories. It’s powerful.”

A healthier high Pfeifer said that while most people think smoking cannabis in plant form is better because it’s more natural, extracts are actually better for you. “Dabbing, vaping, all of those are the cleaner version of consumption. People

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that are smoking flower are getting a lot of toxins, lots of tars. There are more tars in cannabis than there is in tobacco. We want to eliminate those as much as possible,” he said. “People get scared and say, ‘No, I want to smoke flower because I feel like that’s safer,’ but that’s just because they’re familiar with the dosing of it. With concentrates they’re not sure what the dose is.” Pfeifer said part of the problem is that there’s no good way to educate the cannabis-consuming public about the mysteries of extracts and concentrates. “That kind of information is really difficult to get to the end consumer, because we don’t have anywhere that we can consume concentrates. We’ve just approved consumption areas, but they’re not allowing concentrates, just edibles and flower. “A vape pen is like an expensive bottle



Jason Pfeifer of Frog Mountain stands in his lab in Ketchikan.

of wine. You’re sending them home with the most expensive bottle of wine and they’re thinking that it’s a box wine. If they don’t know how to consume it properly, they won’t know the difference. They just don’t know what they’re missing out on.” Pfeifer said there are also waxes, fats and lipids inside the cannabis plant, and, if not filtered out in the extraction process, these impurities can be harsh and irritating to the user’s throat. That’s why he recommends products such as the Puffco Peak as a good, portable dab rig. The first “smart bong,” Peak has an electric heating element with four temperature settings, maintains a steady temperature so it doesn’t scorch your terpenes, and the vapor is cooled by passing through water. This helps with the dosing problem and makes inhaling a more pleasant experience. “A single dab that somebody might take and get over-stoned on can get three or four people stoned, just from simple efficiencies. A lot of older friends of mine, in their 50s and 60s, like the Puffco because it’s smooth, it’s easy, and

they don’t cough. They don’t smell like anything afterwards. They’re able to consume it and continue doing what they’re doing,” Pfeifer said.

Building a better vape Pfeifer said most vape pens were designed for smoking e-cigarettes, which is not compatible with the way cannabis is used. “There’s a big difference between smoking an e-cigarette and smoking cannabis. You typically smoke your own cigarette, but you typically share a joint, right? These devices are designed to heat rapidly, because the hotter it is, the more vaporization you have. The problem is that this isn’t an e-cigarette where you’re going to take one or two puffs and put it away. You’re over-firing it because you’re passing it around, and it can overheat and burn your oil and ruin your experience.” Pfeifer has been working with a company called O2 Vape to create a device that works well with his product. “I reached out to multiple vape cartridge companies when I first got started

8 — September 2019 —

five years ago, and this company was the first one that listened to me and what I was looking for. Everybody else said, ‘You need to do this to your oil to make it work with our cartridges, or add this into your oil and it will work perfectly.’ That never was an appropriate answer for me. I said, make the cartridge work with my oil, because I’ve made a wonderful product and I want people to be able to experience that,” he said. Pfeifer said he often gives advice to other extract manufacturers. “It’s better for me to help my competition to achieve a better quality product than it is for me to watch them struggle. If they’re struggling that means there’s bad product making its way out to the market,” Pfeifer said. “I try to help as many people as I can. It might not seem like the best business plan but it’s been working great so far. The industry’s growing, and if we don’t work together then it’s not going to grow.” Contact Alaska Cannabist staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582 or at


Alaska Grown Cannabis Dorothy Chomicz Alaska Cannabist

Kotzebue store the only cannabis


he legalization of cannabis in Alaska precipitated a “green rush� of sorts as growers, manufacturers and retailers pushed to corner the markets in Fairbanks and Anchorage. The first legal retailer opened in Fairbanks on Oct. 29, 2016, and since

then the field in both cities has become increasingly crowded. Rural Alaskans, however, were mostly left out in the cold by prospective entrepreneurs wary of dealing with the hassles and expenses of opening operations in remote villages. The situation has gradually improved as more adventur-

Alaska Grown Cannabis owner Kalla Peacock. Photo by Kirsten Andsager

retailer above the Arctic Circle ous souls, motivated either by profit or hometown pride, have entered the industry. Kalla Peacock is one of the new breed of cannabis retailers looking to tap into the small but fertile rural retail scene. Born and raised in Kotzebue, Peacock lives in Anchorage and

has two stores in Northwestern Alaska. He recently took time out from a cross-country bicycle trip to talk to Alaska Cannabist by phone.



Alaska Grown Cannabis is the only cannabis store above the Arctic Circle. Photos by Kirsten Andsager

Kotzebue is a city of about 3,200 residents 33 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Northwest Alaska. Wikimedia Commons photo

The rural route Peacock intended to open a Kotzebue store first and follow up with a store in Nome. He was looking at properties in both communities when he met a man in Nome who was looking for a partner. “It kind of sped the process up and made things easier for him and myself. He was already in the process and had a cultivation license,” Peacock said. Peacock and his partner opened Gudlief in Nome in May 2018. Peacock went solo and opened his second store, Alaska Grown Cannabis, in Kotzebue this May. “We had a pretty good welcoming when we opened, and a lot of people were interested in checking it out, because it’s the farthest north marijuana store in the U.S. and the only one in the world above the Arctic Circle,” Peacock said with pride. 12 — September 2019 —



“We had a pretty good welcoming when we opened, and a lot of people were interested in checking it out, because it’s the farthest north marijuana store in the U.S. and the only one in the world above the Arctic Circle.”

— Kalla Peacock

Eventually the cultivation aspect of the business grew too be too much, and now Peacock gets his product from growers around the state. “The cultivation facility was so remote that getting supplies up there was expensive, and there was the hassle of it being a perishable item. We wanted to simplify things and make it a little easier. Farming’s hard, especially in rural Alaska,” Peacock said. “Our electricity was more expensive, and we didn’t have the most amazing, state-of-the-art grow facility, either.”

Challenges and rewards Alaska Grown Cannabis sells bud, concentrates, edibles and pre-rolls and has four employees. Peacock, a former construction worker and teacher, runs the

business from Anchorage because it’s easier “from an owner standpoint.” “I can do all of the logistics and purchasing and get everything lined up for regulations. I have managers in every facility and a regional manager. I also have some other people I grew up with who do some rotational work, just to keep things rolling. They’re dependable and make things happen.” Peacock said he sometimes has trouble finding the right employees in the community. “One of the challenging things about a such a small community is there’s not a ton of people who have a handler’s card, and it’s a little more difficult to get in rural Alaska. You have to mail it all in, our DMV is closed a lot of the time, and it’s

a little harder to get background checks from the troopers’ office,” Peacock said. “It’s a $600 round-trip to get to Fairbanks or Anchorage, so I want to make sure that if I’m paying for it, the employee sticks around for awhile. I’ve already done that a couple of times.” Though the path to rural cannabis store ownership isn’t always smooth, Peacock said it’s worth it. “It’s definitely my passion, but it’s definitely stressful. I have my days, but overall this is what I’ve always been highly interested in, and I knew Kotzebue is where I wanted to be.” Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at or 907459-7582. — September 2019 — 13




As we age, we experience myriad changes in our bodies and brains. Our bodily functions can become impaired, our hormone production becomes irregular, and the daily stressors of life can lead to disease. Given the already documented therapeutic benefits of cannabis and CBD, it’s no wonder that older adults are increasingly trying and using cannabis.

Cannabis for boomers and beyond


h, my aching back. Actually, it’s my neck. I’m starting to experience the wear and tear of aging and from years of computer use. As an old GenXer or young baby boomer, depending on how you define those age groups, I’m the perfect candidate for using cannabis medicine. According to a June 2019 University of Colorado study in the journal Drugs and Aging, cannabis use in older adults in the U.S. grew tenfold from 2007 to 2017. As we age, we experience myriad changes in our bodies and brains. Our bodily functions can become impaired, our hormone production becomes irregular, and the daily stressors of life can lead to disease. Given the already documented therapeutic benefits of cannabis and CBD, it’s no wonder that older adults are increasingly trying and using cannabis. The University of Colorado study stated that older adults who used cannabis for medical purposes reported positive outcomes. How can boomers and seniors benefit from cannabis? Many of

the medicinal properties of cannabis can be beneficial to most adults at any stage of their lives but this is especially true for older adults.

Relieving symptoms Boomers and seniors are gravitating toward cannabis to address everything from pain and inflammation to insomnia and anxiety disorders to support during cancer treatments. Cannabis contains numerous cannabinoids, the chemical compounds in the plant that possess certain properties and produce specific effects when introduced into the human body. Here’s a breakdown of the more prevalent cannabinoids called the “Big 6” and a few of their properties that could be beneficial to older adults. • THC (tetrahydrocannabinol): Reduces pain and inflammation, eases nausea and vomiting, increases appetite, controls diarrhea, can protect neurons in the brain, aids sleep, and can be used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. • CBD (cannabidiol): Reduces pain by reducing inflammation, eases nausea,

Aliza Sherman candidly cannabis reduces seizures, and relieves anxiety. • CBG (cannabigerol): Can treat glaucoma, decrease inflammation in inflammatory bowel syndrome, and is being studied to fight cancer. Can protect neurons in the brain, prevent bladder dysfunction, fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria. • CBN (cannabinol): Acts as a sedative, reduces convulsions, and stimulates — September 2019 — 15

Alaska bone cell growth. Can also work as an antibiotic and antibacterial when applied topically. • CBC (cannabichromene): Being studied to fight cancer, reduces pain and inflammation, promotes healthy brain function, stimulates bone tissue growth, acts as an antibiotic and antifungal on skin surfaces including inhibiting acne. • THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin): Suppresses appetite, reduces pain, eases panic attacks, regulates blood sugar levels, stimulates bone growth, and being studied as a treatment for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Many of the preliminary studies for using cannabis to address disease can be found on the website for the National Institutes of Health. Thousands of scientific and medical studies focused on the medical uses of cannabis have been published from other countries such as Israel, Canada, New Zealand, and throughout Europe.


Cannabis and medicines Many older adults are being treated with multiple medicines — one medicine to address a health issue and another to address the side effects of the first and so on. The use of multiple medications is known as “polypharmacy,” and cannabis can be a useful plant-based medicine for reducing the number of medications a person is taking. The University of Colorado study found that older adults wanted more information about cannabis and desired to communicate with their health care providers but often found access to medical information lacking. Any adult, including boomers and seniors, who is seeking to use cannabis for medicine may be challenged to find a doctor in Alaska — or any other recreational or adult-use state — who can make recommendations or prescribe specific forms or dosages. If you live in a state where qualified physicians are not available or not allowed to recommend cannabis, look

online for naturopathic physicians or holistic nurses who may be open to recommending more alternative forms of medicine or herbalists who are well versed in plant medicine. Some nutritionists and other wellness professionals now offer cannabis consulting services. Cannabis and CBD can interact with other medications, including both prescribed and those purchased over the counter. Stopping medications in favor of cannabis should not be a course of action without trusted, professional guidance, preferably from a physician or naturopath who is knowledgeable about cannabis. Aliza Sherman lives in Anchorage, Alaska and has been involved in the cannabis industry since early 2016. She is the co-founder of Ellementa, an international network for women interested in cannabis for wellness. She is the author of a new book, “The Essential Guide to Cannabis and CBD: Optimizing Your Health With Nature’s Medicine” (Ten Speed Press).


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Alaska’s Credit Union 1 ends pilot program with cannabis businesses Matt Buxton


iting problems with its insurance broker and underutilization, Alaska’s Credit Union 1 announced in early August that it would be ending its pilot program that gave cannabis businesses access to checking and savings accounts. The program was launched in November 2019 offering the first of its kind banking services to Alaska cannabis businesses. Without easy access to the banking system, Alaska cannabis businesses have been stuck in a cash-only

world. Credit Union 1 CEO James Wileman told the Anchorage Daily News that decision was made after the bank was told by its insurance broker that its coverage wouldn’t be renewed if the credit union continued to do businesses with the can-

nabis industry. The program had only attracted four cannabis businesses. Federal banking industry regulators with the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network have given banks the OK to work with the marijuana industry, but it comes with the expectation that the banks will rigorously monitor their banking transactions for suspicious activity. It’s a requirement that’s not only complicated but also expensive. Wileman told the Anchorage newspaper that if compliance wasn’t so expensive, it would have been a “more reason- — September 2019 — 17

Alaska able prospect” for cannabis businesses, the bank and others involved. “I don’t know if it’s a factor of the businesses have had to do without banking for so long so they’re used to it or if it’s a new service that adds an expense, that’s a factor too,” he said. The decision to work with marijuana businesses also carried its own risk in the event that attitudes on the federal level shift and banks find themselves on the wrong side of the law. National Credit Union Administration Chairman Rodney Hood recently reconfirmed that credit unions won’t be hit with sanctions for working with marijuana businesses as long as credit unions continue to follow the established guidelines. Hood told the Credit Union Times that, “We don’t get involved with micro-managing credit unions.” In the interview, Hood acknowledged, though, that Congress could help clear up any ambiguity if it enacts legislation. To that end, there are multiple bills in


Congress to give banks the go-ahead to safely work with cannabis businesses without worry. The legislation has been broadly supported by Alaska’s congressional delegation, and Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson signed on in support of it with multiple other attorneys general. With businesses wary about getting too involved in the market, banks will likely need to wait to see more concrete action on the federal level. When Clarkson signed on in support of the federal changes, he said banking would help solve many of the problems the industry faces when it comes to security, logistics and the ability to push out the black market. “Not having banking options available has made these marijuana businesses have to operate on a cash basis, which presents a very real public safety danger. It impairs our ability to diminish the black market by fully legitimizing businesses that are state-law compli-

ant, makes it harder to verify whether activities are lawful under state law, and makes marijuana businesses a target for theft,” he wrote at the time. “The federal government needs to recognize the reality of legal marijuana and give states and businesses the ability to safely operate and regulate this new industry.” Wileman said if things change, Credit Union 1 would be ready to launch a new pilot program. “While the purpose of our pilot program was to determine feasibility of a larger MRB (marijuana-related business) project, we understand that this decision may be disappointing news,” he told the Anchorage Daily News. “Should the federal perspective on MRBs change in the future and allow us to reduce our insurance risk, we will certainly consider exploration of another pilot.” Matt Buxton is a freelance writer in Anchorage. Comments about this story? Email

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Looking ahead The Fairbanks Cut stakes out a prime location for future growth Dorothy Chomicz


airbanks Cut, located in the eastside Fairbanks shopping district, is one of the latest entrants into the Fairbanks retail cannabis trade. Housed in the bottom floor of a construction company building, the spacious and tastefully minimalistic store opened in April and has seen a steady increase in clientele, according to manager and part-owner Dakota Sinclair. “Business is good. It’s still a work in progress, but we’re slowly getting more of the things we want in here,” Sinclair said. Built to order by G2 Construction, the

store is roomy and the vibe peaceful, with dark green walls and a merchandise alcove featuring T-shirts, hats and hoodies. Uncluttered and brightly lit glass cases display paraphernalia, bags of edibles and small silver bowls filled with various strains of buds. A cooler behind the counter holds concentrates and perishable edibles, and a case on the side displays the store’s pet products, such as CBD dog treats, capsules and balms. The menu is displayed on large, black flat screens mounted high behind the counter. Fairbanks Cut features product from growers and manufacturers statewide such as Aurora Blaze, High Tides Farms, Frog Mountain, Ester Horticulture and Research, Cold

Ben patrols the floor and greets customers at Fairbanks Cut. — September 2019 — 19

The store was built to order by G2 Construction and opened earlier this year. The two businesses share the building on Bentley Trust Road.

Creek Extracts, Lady Gray Edibles and MoMo’s Bakery, to name a few. One of Fairbanks Cut’s six owners, Craig Aslietti, also co-owns Dankorage, a popular and successful cannabis retailer in Anchorage. Aslietti spoke to Alaska Cannabis by phone recently to explain why he and his partners decided to open a Fairbanks branch. Not only did they want to get in before the city’s licensing cap made it impossible to open a new store, but they also wanted to take

advantage of existing relationships they had with growers in the industry, according to Aslietti. “Fairbanks really got up and running with cultivators before everybody else in the state, and Fairbanks has been so welcoming it just makes business easy. In the beginning, when Dankorage opened, we were only doing business with cultivators from Fairbanks and a few other towns, because we couldn’t get any product from Anchorage for months

20 — September 2019 —

and months. Those guys got it done, man, and they got it done fast.” Though a side road behind an underused mall may not seem like the best spot to open a cannabis retailer in an already full market, Aslietti said the location actually makes sense. One of Dankorage’s main suppliers is Aurora Blaze, a large Fairbanks cultivation operation owned by Brittany Gitschel. G2 Construction is owned by Gitschel’s family and headquartered in a large wooden building at 188 Bentley Trust Road. Gitschel offered to partner with Aslietti to open a Fairbanks store inside G2’s building. Though the spot is currently surrounded by vacant lots, the area is in for a building boom in the near future, according to Aslietti. “There’s really nothing around us, yet. That’s the key. There’s supposed to be hotels going up on each side of us and also a strip mall, and they’re breaking ground in the spring,” Aslietti said. “That was the big deciding factor for putting it there. We had other locations we could have gone with, but we thought, let’s plan for the future. It should develop into a great location.” Though the store has only been open for four months, Aslietti said he and his co-owners are “very optimistic.” “We obviously started out slow but our sales figures are going in the correct direction. They’re climbing, and


“We started at zero and now have over 700 members. We can connect with you via text message and tell you about deals and keep track of when you came in last and what you got.”

— Craig Aslietti, co-owner Fairbanks Cut, Dankorage

Cannabist that’s a good thing. Fairbanks Cut is a completely different situation than Dankorage. We were one of the very first shops to open in Anchorage, so all we had to do was kick the doors open and we were killing it. Fairbanks Cut, on the other hand, we opened in an existing market and we have competitors that have been in place for years. Just like any business, really, that is started in a brand-new industry, you have to do it right, you have to bring something to the table that other people don’t have, and you have to fight for every customer.” The store recently added new signage to increase its visibility, and its customer loyalty program is “growing exponentially.” “We started at zero and now have over 700 members. We can connect with you via text message and tell you about deals and keep track of when you came in last and what you got. At this time it’s growing much, much faster than Dankorage,” Aslietti said. Fairbanks Cut is the first Fairbanks cannabis retailer to apply for an onsite consumption license. The Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office board of directors denied the application, on a 2-2 vote, at its meeting in early July in a disagreement over interpretation of the regulations, and Aslietti and his partners have already appealed the decision. “The first step is to get in front of an administrative law judge, and then we essentially just tell him our story, present all the facts and see what he says. If it’s in our favor then we’ll take that back to AMCO,” Aslietti said. “Another thing in our favor is that the city of Fairbanks is just awesome and super welcoming. Various departments, like the police and fire departments, have already come back and said they have no problem with this. The city is not an impediment, they’re on our team.” Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at or 907-459-7582. — September 2019 — 21



Terp Nerd

Terpenes or THC? Anthony Dellapietro


hat should you be shopping for? Could there be a chance that the terpene levels are a stronger sway on the common consumer’s cannabis experience than the THC? We can count the THC-chasers out of that question. Without diminishing the value or down-talking the most amazing tetrahydrocannabinol, I would simply like to point out the fact that perhaps the terpenes have a bigger role than one may think. Out of the 113 known to modern research, cannabinoid levels may not dominate the market as we once thought. Terpenes have been studied for more than 100 years, and with more than 50,000 known terpenes found in nature, they have shown to have endless potential in the consumer world — from cleaning supplies, beauty products and even

an irrefutable role in the health and wellness world. As someone who has been in the industry since the first day of legalization in Alaska, I have seen the same pattern in the almost three years our beautiful state has been in the rec scene. And that’s THC hunting. It’s time to bring awareness to the full potential of every part of this plant. Prices based around the THC level simply just don’t make sense to a local TerpNerd like myself. I mean, the experience depends on so many other components. What if you were told you can achieve those recreational goals with high terpenes and a varied cannabinoid percentage? Yes, terpenes and other cannabinoids play a massive role not only in the medicinal value of this gorgeous plant but also the much sought-after euphoria and pain relief as well. THC levels are just too broad, THCA, THCV, Delta-8, Delta-9, 11-Hydroxytetrahydrocannabinol…. sorry, couldn’t resist. Did you know Delta-9 THC is the only

cannabinoid the federal government requires within a plant to classify it as marijuana? If those levels of Delta -9 are under 0.3%, it is considered hemp. Well, that’s good news for us. But now we are getting off track. My main premise of this column is to bring awareness to the very undermined alternative constituents of the cannabis plant. Terpenes play a huge role in our day-to-day lives, and the wealth of knowledge built within the holistic community should to be open and available to all individuals looking to better their quality of living. It’s time to come together. It’s time to bring light to a natural approach. It’s your local TerpNerd signing off of this month’s issue of The Alaska Cannabist! Watch out for next month’s issue covering some pretty impressive immunomodulators about to hit the scene. Anthony Dellapietro lives in Wasilla. He owns NuLyfe Labs LLC.

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Quick info and insights into some of the many strains of cannabis by Marcey Luther.

THE BUD HUB Hello Alaska! Thank you for reading the Bud Hub! This edition I found a few new products on the shelves and looped back to mention a few longtime personal favorites. Thanks for reading, and please direct any correspondence toward our editor, Rod Boyce, at

“High Dive Soda,” from Fire Eater Manufacturing Co. in root beer. Total THC is 20.82 mg and 0.04 mg of CBD. This soda is made from a hybrid plant. It’s great to see other manufacturers giving that information. The bottles are what looks to be prescription cough syrup bottles, and they’re labeled with vintage-style writing and art with a high diver diving as though in a circus act. I chose root beer from the choices at Nature’s Releaf in Fairbanks. The soda has a good root beer flavor, and I liked the packaging. The price was right, at $15 for 20 mg. — four servings. The only thing I would say is that I wish the carbonation was a little bit better. It wasn’t flat, but it almost was. Really interesting product. I’m excited to try some other High Dive Sodas flavors. Awesome product, Fire-Eater!

“Blueberry” distillate crafted by Good Titrations and purchased at Grass Station 49. This is one of my favorite concentrates on the market, and I am a repeat buyer of this particular cartridge. What I love the most about this product is the consistency. When you buy Good Titrations Blueberry, you know exactly what you’re going to get — a really beautifully flavored concentrate that does the job. This cartridge presents as an indica for me. It’s relaxing, it’s tasty, it’s grounding... it does all the good things indicas do. If you’re looking for a go-to cartridge, this is one I would highly recommend. And I’m sure you can find it at retailers across Alaska. Awesome work, Good Titrations!

“Rainmaker,” purchased at the Denali Cannabis Cache, grown by The Catalyst Cannabis Co. I purchased this selection based off of visual appeal from the deli at Denali Cannabis Cache. The nugs are frosty and well manicured. The smell was musky yet sweet with a little splash of sourness, like grape candy. I learned from the first puff of this one to go easy, the THC is high at 24.11%, and just a few hits delivered strong effects. I enjoyed this flower. Nice work, CCC!

“Purple Punch,” bought at True Dank and grown by North link. Tested at 19.92% THC with 0.44% CBD. This flower is manicured very tightly with noticeable hints of purple. I really love the aroma and flavor of this flower. You’ll notice sour fuel notes alongside sweet grape. The smoke is easy and enjoyable and full of flavor. I was told that these genetics came from Fairbanks local Legend Mark Hubbard. I really love this flower, and I’m so happy to see it on the shelves at True Dank. Nice work fellas! I’ll be back!

Thank you for reading! I hope you all enjoyed your summer, Alaska. Love, Marcey — September 2019 — 23

The Great Alaskan

Cannabis Bowl Scenes, winners from two-day festival in Wasilla

26 — September 2019 — — September 2019 — 27



2019 Cannabis Bowl winners

With Cook Inlet and the mountains as its backdrop, the 2019 Great Alaska Cannabis Bowl on July 27-28 drew hundreds of people for a two-day celebration of cannabis, the marijuana industry and its culture. The event featured a weekend full of musical performances, boxing matches and even a cornhole tournament. It was produced by Trich Productions and hosted at the Settlers Bay Golf Course, which also hosed the 420 Green Spring Concert and Expo in April. The events mark an annual meet-up for members of the Alaska marijuana industry and was capped off with an awards ceremony recognizing some of the best strains and products produced this year.

BEST INDICA FLOWER Runner Up: Wedding Cake by The Frost Frontier Winner: Garlicane By Mercy Tree of Alaska

BEST SATIVA FLOWER Runner Up: Lemonade Bud by Raspberry Roots Winner: Quantum Fish By BAM Alaska BEST HYBRID FLOWER Runner Up: Legend OG by High Tide Farms Winner: Raindance By Catalyst Cannabis Company BEST CBD FLOWER Runner Up: Dark Starfruit by Calm & Collective Winner: Critical Mass By Catalyst Cannabis Company

28 — September 2019 —

BEST VAPE PEN Winner: Bomb Pop By Einstein Labs

BEST HOMEGROWN FLOWER Winner: Arctic Blue By Dave Nyberg BEST EDIBLE Winner: Chocolate Cookie Bites By Einstein Labs HIGHEST TERPENE CONTENT Winner: Lemonade Bud (3.71%) By Raspberry Roots BEST SATIVA CONCENTRATE Runner Up: Lemon Ice Pucker (Sugar Wax) by Cold Creek Extracts Winner: Mercy Fruit Haze (Shatter) By Einstein Labs



BEST HYBRID CONCENTRATE Runner Up: Blue Kush Crystalline by Einstein Labs Winner: Garlicane Crystalline By Einstein Labs BEST INDICA CONCENTRATE Winner: B.A.N.S. (Shatter) By AK Rime BEST CBD CONCENTRATE Winner: Somango Shatter By AK Rime HIGHEST THC Winner: GMO (34%) By Frost Frontier HIGHEST CBD Winner: Ak Asprin (15.7%) By Isodore BEST OVERALL HEMP PRODUCT Winner: 1000mg Full Spectrum Remission Sublingual Oil By Hempire Co BEST TOPICAL Winner: 1000mg Full Spectrum Salve By Hempire Co BEST PREROLL Winner: Jacked Up CBD By Green Degree

Opposite page, the event was organized by Cody Coman of Trich Productions at the Settler’s Bay Golf Course. Activities included cornhole, vendors, a giant slip-n-slide, a fireeater and more. Photos by Rod

Boyce and Matt Buxton.




Nielsen predicts legal cannabis sales in the U.S. to reach $41 billion by 2025 Anne Marie Fischer


The Fresh Toast

annabis was featured in Nielsen Company’s Total Consumer Report 2019, with the data and information company predicting the sales of cannabis consumer packaged goods to rise five times that of 2018’s sales. They forecast that the sales of all legalized cannabis products in the U.S. could reach $41 billion by 2025. This

includes all products manufactured from the marijuana plant and the hemp plant and all compounds derived from cannabis sativa. This was just one tidbit of information revealed in the report and the accompanying analysis titled “Brace for Impact: CPG Cannabis Sales to Rise by the Billions.” Through these reports, Nielsen gave some interesting insights into the cannabis market and “cannabis-interested” consumers, especially when comparing how the industry has evolved from 2014, when cannabis was

30 — September 2019 —

legal only across two states, to 2018, when legalization became more widespread. During this time period, as more types of products and methods of consumption became available, people’s tastes in how they were consuming became more diverse. In 2014, 77% of legal consumers were buying flower, compared to 48% of sales being attributed to flower in 2018. Vapor pen sales rose from 4% to 19% over this time period. Edibles remained relatively stagnant with a respective 9% and 11% of sales in

Alaska 2014 and 2018. “Other formats,” like capsules, beverages, topicals, and tinctures rose from 10% to 22%. There has also been a significant brand explosion over the last four years that can’t be ignored. In 2014, only 166 cannabis brands existed, compared to the 2,650 that now make up the cannabis industry’s brand roster, growing seven times in four years. Not only did Nielsen dig into consumer data to attempt to predict the future of the cannabis industry, but they also released some interesting data-based insights on the average “cannabis-interested” U.S. citizen: They are two times more likely to have tobacco products in their household, with cannabis-interested adults making up 65% of the population trying to quit smoking — 41% of whom would consider using cannabis for smoking cessation. They are 41% more likely to drink beer, with 1 in 5 cannabis consumers


Not only did Nielsen dig into consumer data to attempt to predict the future of the cannabis industry, but they also released some interesting data-based insights on the average “canna-curious” citizen. saying they spend less on store-bought beer as a result of consuming cannabis. They are 36% more likely to have neck and back pain, with 65% of cannabisinterested consumers using over-thecounter pain medications to manage pain, and 35% of that group considering using cannabis as a replacement to these OTC medications. Nielsen is a worldwide data and information global research firm that provides marketers reliable and objective information on marketing and sales

program. Most widely known for the “Nielsen Ratings.” an audience measurement system, Nielsen also provides data and information for demographics, CPG and retail, and markets and finances. This article originally appeared on Green Market Report. Anne Marie Fischer is a contributing writer to The Fresh Toast. The Alaska Cannabist has partnered with The Fresh Toast, a lifestyle and entertainment platform featuring coverage of cannabis, culture, comedy, food, drink, edibles and more.

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A syringe with a dose of CBD oil is shown in a research laboratory in Fort Collins, Colorado. On July 23, the Food and Drug Administration announced it has warned Curaleaf Inc., of Wakefield, Mass., for illegally selling unapproved CBD products. The agency says Curaleaf’s claims could lead people to delay medical care for serious conditions like cancer. AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File

Study shows potential for CBD in treating some opioid addictions David James


o hear its proponents tell it, cannabidiol, the nonpsychoactive extract from cannabis commonly known as CBD, is a one-stop cureall for nearly every medical disorder that plagues humanity. CBD has been touted as an effective treatment for everything from joint pain to tinnitus to depression to cancer. Over the past few years

it has exploded onto the market in pills, tinctures, ointments, food additives and more. In 2018, more than $1 billion in CBD products were sold nationwide, with some forecasters claiming it could be $15 billion to $20 billion market by 2025. But the reality, so far at least, is that little scientific evidence supports the anecdotal claims offered by consumers of the product. Until recently, the only study that had found a confirmed medi-

32 — September 2019 —

cal benefit from the extract was a 2017 paper published in the Journal of Epilepsy Research that found CBD effective in reducing seizures brought on by both Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes. This in itself was huge news since those two forms of epilepsy don’t respond to other anti-seizure medications, and it led to FDA approval of the first ever cannabis-derived pharmaceutical product, Epidolex. This spring, however, brought reports

How long CBD can reduce desire for opioids and heroin is a question yet to be answered, but the initial results are extremely promising, especially since CBD lacks psychoactive properties and isn’t addictive. of a different finding regarding CBD’s potential, one that could have a profound impact on one of the nation’s most vexing problems. Researchers reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry that in a controlled double-blind study of recovering opioid addicts treated with a prescription level dosage, those given CBD demonstrated reduced cravings for the drugs compared with others administered a placebo in the same experiment. The primary author of the study is Yasmin Hurd, director of the Addiction Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Between 2016 and 2018, she and her assistants studied 42 heroin addicts who had been on the drug for an average of 13 years and who were only a month or so into their efforts at quitting. Divided into three groups, each was provided with either a 400 mg solution, 800 mg, or a placebo for three consecutive days. Three times – immediately after receiving the initial dose, 24 hours later, and then a week after the final dose – participants were presented with neutral visual cues, such as nature scenes, as well as a three-minute video showing heroin paraphernalia and packets of powder. To prevent biasing the results, neither the participants nor the researchers knew who had been given which of the three solutions. But the results, when unveiled, were significant. Recovering addicts given the placebo experienced heightened heart rates, increases in the stress hormone cortisol, and reported strong cravings for drugs. Meanwhile, “Those who received the CBD,” Hurd told National Public Radio’s Allison Aubrey, “showed a reduction of their craving and they also showed a reduction of their anxiety.” Among those given CBD, these responses were at their lowest one to two hours after it was administered, but the effect was still notable even a week after the final dose. Environmental cues such as witnessing drug use, even on television or in a movie, can have strong impacts on those withdrawing from opioids and heroin and are a leading cause of relapse. It is for this reason, Hurd told the website MedPage Today, “this research is extremely promising. If we can find the medication that targets that kind of system, that would be amazing.”

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Marijuana has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming. Marijuana impairs concentration, coordination, and judgement. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence. There are health risks associated with consumption of Marijuana. For use by adults 21 or older. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN. Marijuana should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Business License #11000.

Alaska How long CBD can reduce desire for opioids and heroin is a question yet to be answered, but the initial results are extremely promising, especially since CBD lacks psychoactive properties and isn’t addictive. This is in contrast to methadone, the most well-known treatment for heroin addiction, which is an opioid itself that carries its own potentially serious complications. Opioid abuse in America began surging in the 1990s, when pharmaceutical companies started flooding the market with a new generation of opium-based painkillers. Despite claims by manufacturers that the drugs were neither addictive nor harmful, many patients were soon hooked, and overdose statistics started climbing steadily. Between 1999 and 2010, prescriptions quadrupled, and by 2017, overdose deaths were six times as high as when the drugs first came into widespread use. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 47,000 Americans


died from opioid-related or heroin overdoses that year. This factors out to nearly 130 deaths per day, and the problem is worsening. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 2 million people in America misuse prescription pain killers, and fifteen million worldwide. As opioid users shift from doctor’s prescriptions, which are becoming harder to get, to the black market, heroin and synthetics have inundated the nation, showing up even in small rural communities where they were once impossible to obtain. Getting people off of the drug is a top medical priority, and the promise CBD shows in doing this safely and effectively is potentially ground shifting. Some warnings do need to be presented before individuals look to selftreat their drug cravings with CBD. In the study, patients were given a clinically measured dose, and purity was controlled for. Unfortunately, like most over-the-counter supplements found on the market, CBD purchased in shops

is unregulated, and a 2017 NIH study found that with some commercially available products, the actual quantity of CBD differs from what is claimed on the label. Buyer beware. Also, if you have to take a drug test for work, know beforehand that a few of those supplements contain trace amounts of THC. Further research is needed, but the results of this study confirm what cannabis legalization advocates have always maintained. The anecdotal evidence for the plant’s medicinal and therapeutic properties has long been noticed by consumers. So it’s high time for scientists to examine these claims. If CBD, which is safe, can combat addiction to prescription opioids, which aren’t, this is one more argument to continue expanding the legalization process and learn what else it can do. David James is a freelance writer in Fairbanks. Comments about this story? Email

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Satori hopes to be a pillar in an area of downtown Anchorage often overlooked Matt Buxton


he eastern edge of downtown Anchorage, marked by several vacant retail fronts and a not-quite-compatible mix of hotels, office supply stores and office space, isn’t known to be much of a destination. But that’s something that the owner and general manager of cannabis retailer Satori hope to change with its location on 5th Avenue. It’s a spacious and low-key

space that invites customers to hang out, stay awhile and enjoy the vibe. “We wanted to create an establishment that was comfortable for everyone from the fresh 21 to the 90-year-old grandma for her visit out of the house and the weekly executives,” said owner Andrew Baker. “It’s a nice, comfortable and relaxed environment for everybody. Customer service, obviously, being the top priority.” Satori has a sprawling floor space with long, product-filled glass display counters, a big selection of glass, a corner filled

with plush couches and walls covered with the work of local artists. General Manager Charles Tice grew up in Anchorage and has spent time off and on there throughout his adult life. He said he’s always had a soft spot for the downtown area and its scene. “I always had a penchant for downtown places, looking at what’s coming in and what’s going on, what worked and what didn’t work,” he said. He said he hopes having businesses like this will bring some much-needed — September 2019 — 37


“When we first opened to today, the goal has always been to transcend the cannabis industry in general and give people a multitude of reasons to visit.”

— Charles Tice, Satori general manager

Satori features a lot of art by local artists. General manager Charles Tice said they’ve helped sell thousands of dollars worth of art.

38 — September 2019 —


Satori stocks a wide variety of products for all types of customers.

stability to the area and be a draw for people, especially on First Fridays. He said it’s translated into broadening the focus beyond just selling cannabis. “When we first opened to today, the goal has always been to transcend the cannabis industry in general and give people a multitude of reasons to visit,” he said. “With cannabis becoming more and more ubiquitous and shops opening up all around the place, what’s going to make us stand out and what’s going to separate us from everybody? If federal legalization were to come down, what is going to keep our doors open?” To that end, Baker and Tice are also working on opening a small coffee shop within the retail space. There’s already plenty of room, and a shiny chrome espresso machine is waiting on the counter for the final approval. Baker is also excited about a partnership he and Tice are working on together to open the storefront next door as a kind of combination gallery and community space that would be available as an affordable option for people to host events. The space has already hosted some industry meetings, and Baker said they hope to grow and expand it over the next few

Satori general manager Charles Tice and owner Andrew Baker stand in the space they worked together to create as a welcoming retail store on the eastern end of downtown Anchorage. Photos by Matt Buxton — September 2019 — 39

months. Satori is a word that comes from Buddhism, meaning a sudden moment of enlightenment. But for Baker and Tice, there’s been no single enlightening moment but an ongoing series of little lessons and realizations about what it means to run a business. Navigating the industry regulations is its own maze, and the coffee shop was


another effort entirely to get the necessary permits. Like many retail spots, they’ve also started the early steps at looking at what the new onsite consumption regulations might mean for the future of their business. As a retailer, Satori relies on building relationships with growers to find products that are popular and at a good price that leaves the growers, the retailer and, most importantly, the customers happy. “Where we cultivate cultivators and have business relationships with those, consumers are cultivating recreational shops and where they buy their cannabis from,” Tice said. “If we’re not on point or our prices get a little too carried away,

there’s a guy literally next door to us that they can go shop at. Being really in tune with the customer base and making sure that we’re bringing good quality products at a good price point is critical.” Baker and Tice are proud of the space they’ve built and on a July weekday afternoon there’s a steady stream of customers stopping in with some just making a purchase before heading out while others take a spot on the couch while the music plays overhead. It’s a lively and mellow spot on an otherwise busy, overlooked downtown street. “Solely focusing on cannabis alone isn’t going to do that,” Tice said of building a destination and bringing stability to the area. “Right now, we have cannabis, glass and coffee, whereas before when we opened we had eight strains and you could literally hear the echo in this place, but we still have a lot of work to do.” Matt Buxton is a freelance writer in Anchorage. Comments about this story? Email





Gadget Corner

Dorothy Chomicz/ Alaska Cannabist

You’ll be bowled over by this gadget Dorothy Chomicz


Alaska Cannabist

or those who want to enjoy a bowl while smoking a bowl, nothing fits the bill better than this hybrid creation bought to you by the folks at Part bong and part snack or cereal bowl, this all-glass bubbler features a three-headed “stack

a bowl” attachment which can be filled with different strains. These bowls can be lit one at a time or torched all at once for a triple-threat smoking experience. The shallow water chamber has a builtin frosted glass bowl nested above it, and this can be filled with chips, candy or anything else your stoned little heart desires. If wake and bake is your game, you

can’t go wrong with a nice bowl of Cap’n Crunch, and the milk has the added benefit of further chilling the smoke before it hits your lungs. The Buddieburners website doesn’t currently feature the product, it can be purchased for $35 at Fairbanks Cut in Fairbanks. A similar product can be purchased online at for $129. — September 2019 — 41




This flowering plant is from a strain called Mind Crime, grown by Catalyst Cannabis Co. This is an edited image taken with a Sony a6000 shot 37mm 1/500 sec. f/9 ISO 1250. Photo by Nell Bishop, Mary Jane Macro.

Are you proud of your cannabis or cannabis-related product? Do you have cannabis photos that you shot in a unique or attractive setting? Then show them off in Alaska Cannabist magazine’s monthly photo feature. We’re looking for fun, curious, or informative photos from any aspect of Alaska’s legal cannabis industry. Send your photos to to share the enjoyment of cannabis in the Last Frontier.

42 — September 2019 —

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How to make your edibles taste less like weed Jessie Moore


The Fresh Toast

n theory, marijuana edibles are a win-win prospect: you get to have your cake and eat weed, too. However, in practice, you often sacrifice the actual dessert experience. The weed flavor can be overpowering, and you’re still left wanting a delicious dessert that actually tastes good. It begets the question: is there a way to make cannabutter goodies taste less like weed, so that you can have a meaningful dessert 44 — September 2019 —

experience and still get high? What do the experts have to say? To start, I hit up one of the commercial cannabis bakeries which I admire, Colorado’s Sweet Grass Kitchen. This pioneering commercial cannabis bakery has been in operation since 2009. They’re a big deal: their products are sold in over 500 dispensaries and over 2 million servings were dosed in just the past year (like whoa). Much of their success owes to a simple fact: their edibles, which include cookies, pies, brownies, and even some confections, taste good. Their snicker-

Alaska doodles are satisfying as a cookie as well as an edible; their brownies don’t taste skunky or overly weed-y, but definitely deliver a satisfying dosage. So…what’s the secret? I got to pick the brains of Jesse Burns and Kristy Gustafson from their marketing department, as well as executive chef Lauren Finesilver. Now, before anything else, they wanted me to tell you that overall, they discourage home baking and note that professionally prepared edibles will provide the most reliable and safe dosing. 21+ consumers should be sure to seek out products which are clearly marked and tested for potency. However, for those who are curious and want to go rogue like me, they do have some wisdom to impart. As executive chef Lauren Finesilver simply says, “it’s all about the cannabutter”. Your cannabutter is the flavor core of your edibles, and therefore should be


considered of key importance. There are a few reasons why. First, using cannabutter is important to flavor, as opposed to using an oil, concentrate, or shatter. Second, what goes into the cannabutter matters: Sweet Grass Kitchen employs full flowers versus trim. Unmanicured flowers go into a large kettle and through a proprietary slow cooking process; using the more “premium” product yields and overall superior and better-tasting cannabutter. Another helpful tip from Finesilver? Intelligence with flavor combination matters. For instance, Sweet Grass Kitchen offers a seasonal ginger molasses cookie in which you can barely taste weed at all because of the assertiveness of the ginger. Or framed another way, if you don’t like the taste of weed in your edibles, a recipe like shortbread isn’t going to offer a whole lot to cover up the flavor.

Tips from the masters: These tips reflect some of the guiding words from Sweet Grass Kitchen as well as my own advice.

you get a wood-y flavor element from trim that can give baked goods a slightly bitter aftertaste.

1. Use cannabutter versus hash oil or concentrate. Remember, cannabutter is made with butter, which is the notso-secret ingredient that makes baked goods tender and delicious. As such, it’s a better choice overall than hash oil or concentrate.

3. Use good butter and good weed. Ingredients matter! I personally suggest choosing a high quality unsalted butter, and using a good quality strain of marijuana. It might be more expensive, but it will give you better-tasting results. 4. Do a good job of straining. When making cannabutter, use a very fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to strain the weed so that you don’t get any leaves or buds in your finished cannabutter.

2. Make cannabutter with full flowers versus trim. This was one of my favorite tips from Sweet Grass Kitchen. Anecdotally, I can tell you that using the full flower versus the trim is more expensive, but does yield a superior flavor. Sometimes

5. Be intelligent with flavor pairings.

Marijuana has, well, an herbal flavor. As such, baked goods with herbal or spicy flavors are ideal pairings, as it will work in harmony with the weed flavor. As noted above, Sweet Grass Kitchen offers a killer ginger molasses cookie which doesn’t taste of weed at all. 6. Brown your cannabutter before baking. This is my own tip to share: brown your cannabutter before baking. Have you ever heard of browned butter? It’s butter which has been heated, toasted over low heat until it turns slightly darker in color, and then cooled and used as regular butter in a recipe. Browning the butter gives it a nutty flavor which I think mellows out the weed flavor.

Jessie Moore is a contributing writer to The Fresh Toast. The Alaska Cannabist has partnered with The Fresh Toast, a lifestyle and entertainment platform featuring coverage of cannabis, culture, comedy, food, drink, edibles and more. — September 2019 — 45




A summertime update between fishing trips By Carroll Carrigan


here has been a lot happening in the resin cannabis Industry, even though summer in Alaska sends people scrambling for their dip nets, camping gear hiking boots and bear spray. While we have done our share of fishing and camping, the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association has been busy. In the spring, the executive board rewrote and approved the bylaws to include standing committees for membership/ fundraising, governance/public relations, finance, and executive direction. Those committees have formed, and as soon as the tourist crush is behind us, those will be in full swing. If you are interested in what they are about, the bylaws are publicly posted on the website, and the standing committees are listed there. The elephant in the room for the resin cannabis industry has been taxes, and if you haven’t heard, there is some progress on that front. The AMIA was contacted by the Alaska Department of

Commerce, Community and Economic Development to start a discussion on how best to make the industry less encumbered and more profitable than the current tax structure was allowing. A group of licensees and the AMIA met with the commerce and revenue officials to address the problem. There was a statewide call-in for the membership to add in their thoughts as well. There were plenty of suggestions put on the table but no immediate consensus. We are going to be holding another statewide call-in for an update and to throw more ideas around. But there is also a survey in the works so that we can contact license holders and get their ideas. It appears that gathering data is going to be the first step, and there are probably going to be several surveys coming down the pipe. We will be posting updates on progress, as well as another meeting with that group to keep the process moving. You should be part of the discussion since the industry has worked hard to have a seat at the table. Additionally, we are not about to take our foot off the gas. A reminder that it is member involve-

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Carroll E. Carrigan Jr Opinion ment that has gotten us where we are, and that involvement is the key ingredient that is going to keep us in this game. Now to answer the question you have asked yourself repeatedly while you have been reading this: Why is this idiot using the term “resin cannabis” over and over? My reference to “resin cannabis” is something that you should get used to hearing. The American Society for Testing and Materials is working on standards for both cannabis and hemp. These committees have concluded the


slang definitions “marijuana” and “hemp” are not going to be sufficient to be used in the development of regulations and standards nationally and internationally. The terms that are being used by these committees now are “resin cannabis” for what the public describes as marijuana, and “non-resin cannabis” to describe what is broadly called hemp. The difference between resin and non-resin is a line at 1% resin content. Anything 1% resin (THC and its components) or lower is considered non-resin cannabis, what is currently called hemp. Concentrations above 1% are going to be identified as resin cannabis (marijuana.)


Since “resin” is the differentiation for the same basic cannabis plant, it will also be the international descriptor in dividing them. It may seem odd initially, but it is the simplest way to divide the two types of plant for regulators who will be addressing laws for cannabis. A reminder that if you have questions, or are just interested in what is happening in the resin cannabis Industry, you can always contact us through the website: Carroll Carrigan is executive director of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association.

Alaska Cannabist welcomes columns on a wide range of cannabis-related subjects. Columns must be 450 to 700 words in length and should be well-written and well-researched with attribution of sources. Include full name, photograph suitable for publication, email address and daytime phone number. Email columns to — September 2019 — 47

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Alaska Cannabist - September 2019  

Magazine covering the legal marijuana industry in Alaska.

Alaska Cannabist - September 2019  

Magazine covering the legal marijuana industry in Alaska.