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First downtown Anchorage pot shop license gets approval

  • Author: Devin Kelly
  • Updated: November 1, 2016
  • Published November 1, 2016

The Anchorage Assembly unanimously approved the first license for a downtown pot shop Tuesday night for the west end of Fourth Avenue, in a busy spot close to stores and bars and frequented by tourists.

Alaska Fireweed is owned by Susan Nowland and Anthony Mann, under a corporation called SEU LLC. The business will be located at 715 W. Fourth Ave., in what used to be a skateboard shop.

The Assembly received a letter from a nearby property owner opposing the shop's location. Anchorage lawyer Raymond Nesbett, who lives and works on West Third Avenue, also testified at Tuesday's Assembly meeting.

Nesbett said he thought the street had seen enough problems with bars and alcohol over the years. He noted the business will be on the same block as two bars, the Gaslight and the Pioneer Bar.

In response to a question from Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar, Nesbett said he was the son of Buell Nesbett, the first chief justice after Alaska's statehood and namesake of the state's Nesbett Courthouse, a block away from the future Alaska Fireweed location. He said he'd lived in his home downtown for more than 40 years and was worried about public safety.  

In response, Nowland, the co-owner of the business, told the Assembly the business would be closed by 10 p.m. every day. She also said Alaska Fireweed was planning a sophisticated security system, including cameras in the front and back.

Assemblyman Patrick Flynn, who represents downtown, said the closure of two bars on Fourth Avenue in recent years has lessened the problems with alcohol in the area.

Flynn also noted that the Assembly has more control over pot licenses than alcohol licenses.

"To the extent they're not responsible operators, they will be held accountable," Flynn said.

After the meeting, Nowland said she was hoping for an early December opening.

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