In recent years, other states’ industries have been undergoing aggressive consolidation, with big, highly capitalized multi-state corporations gobbling up cultivation and retail businesses. States like Oregon, California, and Arizona have no residency requirements. Several states, including Arizona, have opted to cap the number of licenses they will issue.
This is not the case in Alaska, where hundreds of independent businesses are licensed to cultivate, manufacture and sell cannabis (the industry’s aberration are testing labs, which cannot have financial relationships with the businesses they ostensibly monitor). The unbracketed licensure system has led to a saturated market, with both cultivators and retailers in many areas competing for dwindling profits.
“If I had a friend who came to me and said, ‘Hey I’ve got a million bucks, I’m gonna open a marijuana business.’ I would tell them invest it somewhere else. Things are tough,” said Nick Miller, who owns AlaskaBuds, retail shops in Anchorage and Bethel. Though Miller is a member of the Marijuana Control Board, he spoke from the somewhat frustrated perspective of a business owner.
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