When brothers James and Giono Barrett transformed a former coffee shop in Juneau, Alaska, into a cannabis dispensary, they aspired to one day create an on-site consumption space for its customers, once Alaska finalized its regulations.
Now, their dream is becoming reality as their dispensary, Rainforest Farms, is the first to apply for an on-site consumption license at the local level.
James and Giono advocated for adult-use legalization in Alaska in 2014 and 2015, when James worked in state government and Giono was a licensed medical cannabis grower. When the state legalized in 2015, the brothers were the first to launch a cultivation operation and retail store in Juneau.
“It’s been a fun ride,” James Barrett said. “We’re at the point right now where Alaska is about to kick off … on-site consumption, … so that’s our next step.”
It’s a two-tier licensing process, he added, and Rainforest Farms must first get local approval before pursuing an on-site consumption license at the state level. The company has a hearing on Aug. 18 with the local planning commission, which will decide whether to alter Rainforest Farms’ conditional-use permit to add on-site consumption.
Photos courtesy of Rainforest Farms
Brothers James and Giono Barrett were the first to launch a cannabis cultivation operation and retail store in Juneau when Alaska legalized in 2015.
Juneau has strict ordinances on smoking, Barrett said, so the company’s on-site consumption plan includes only edibles.
“They kind of threw cannabis into tobacco, so it falls into the smoking ban,” he said. “If you wanted to do smoking on-site consumption in Juneau, you’d have to have a standalone building and be pretty far away from other people. … We’re going to do more European café-style. You can get some edibles, coffee, espresso [and] maybe a sandwich or something like