Want to buy pot in Bethel? You finally can, at ALASKAbuds.

Owner Nick Miller stands in front of the location of ALASKAbuds, which is set to open in Bethel on Jan. 17. (Photo by Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK)

Bethel’s first marijuana store opens for business Friday. It took more than a year to jump through all the bureaucratic hoops, but ALASKABuds, on Third Avenue by Stan’s Barbershop, will start selling weed in all of its forms in Bethel at noon.

“Eighteen months. That’s a long time,” said owner Nick Miller. “And it’s obviously the first retail store in Bethel. It’s a lot of work. You wouldn’t think it would take that long to open a business, but it really, really does in the marijuana industry.”

Miller says that he isn’t planning to advertise, just ease into opening without publicity to give his staff time to work out some of the kinks before business picks up.

“We were hoping it would be a soft opening because we didn’t want to be overwhelmed,” he said. “You have new employees, new systems, and it’s nice to let them get used to it a little bit.”

ALASKAbuds plans to be open noon to 8 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, and reopen the following Thursday with the same hours. The plan is to keep to a half-week schedule until the store builds up business and staffing. Miller is asking people interested in working at the store to come in and apply. The company will tell you what is involved, which includes paperwork and getting a state license.

ALASKAbuds isn’t just selling marijuana products. They also have swag with the company’s logo on sale. Miller said his wife came up with the design.

“If you ever want to fight with your spouse,” Miller said, “start a business and fight over a logo. It was horrible.”

ALASKAbuds may be the first marijuana store opening in Bethel, but it won’t have the field to itself for long. Two other marijuana shops are in the process of going through the bureaucratic hoops in order to open.

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