State allows marijuana businesses to apply for ‘Made in Alaska’ logos

The state-run “Made in Alaska” program is accepting applications from marijuana businesses.

According to records obtained by the Empire via a state information act request, a Nikiski business known variously as Hempco LLC and Alaska Cannabis Company, applied for a Made in Alaska certification on July 20.

It hasn’t received that certification yet: The Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development is requiring marijuana businesses to submit a completed Alaska marijuana license for consideration, and Hempco doesn’t have one yet, according to the records of the Alaska Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office.

“It’s a new wrinkle, but it’s only a wrinkle,” said Fred Parady, deputy commissioner of the Department of Commerce.

Hempco won’t receive its certification just yet, but Parady confirmed that the door is now open for other marijuana businesses to apply.

The principal benefit of the program for participants is a small “Made in Alaska” logo featuring a white mother bear and a black cub. The logo, administered by the state, is permitted on products with components at least 51 percent Alaska-made.

Cary Carrigan, head of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association trade group, said the “Made in Alaska” decision matters because it’s a sign the state is continuing to normalize its attitude toward marijuana and treat marijuana businesses the same as others.

“I think it’ll be a good thing for us. Anything that says who we are and what we’re doing (is good),” he said by phone.

James Barrett of Rainforest Farms, Juneau’s first legal marijuana farm and shop, said by text Friday that he turned in his application, and now he’s waiting to see the result.

Marijuana businesses are still barred from using the official “Alaska Grown” label put on state agricultural products because that program receives federal funding. The “Made in Alaska” program, whose label features a polar bear and a black bear, does not receive federal funding, which is why it can be opened to marijuana businesses.

Marijuana remains an illegal drug at the federal level, but Alaskans voted in 2014 to legalize a recreational marijuana industry. The first storefront sales took place in October 2016.

According to state figures, 1,258 “Made in Alaska” certifications were issued in fiscal year 2017, which ended June 30.

No one from Hempco (the name listed on the company’s marijuana license application) or Alaska Cannabis Company (the name listed on the business license) returned calls from the Empire, and the Department of Commerce has likewise been unable to reach representatives of either company since its initial application.

Jennifer Canfield, one of the owners of Green Elephant Gardens in Juneau, said the state’s decision is good news, but marijuana businesses still face obstacles that other businesses don’t, particularly in the way that they’re banned from the federally regulated banking system.

“It’s always good news when we gain opportunities that any other business has access to, but unfortunately, I can’t even take a ‘Made in Alaska” certification to the bank,’ she said.

Contact reporter James Brooks at james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com or call 523-2258.

More in News

Spruce trees are photographed in Seldovia, Alaska, on Sept. 26, 2021. (Clarion file)
Arbor Day grant application period opens

The program provides chosen applicants with up to $400 to buy and ship trees to their schools.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Ark., leave the chamber after a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, early Wednesday, May 10, 2017. A magistrate ruled Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, that there is probable cause for a case to continue against a man accused of threatening to kill Alaska’s two U.S. senators in profanity-filled voicemails left on their office phones. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Grand jury will get case of man threatening to kill senators

He is accused of making threats against U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
Virus death toll soars

The state reported 66 more COVID deaths Tuesday, some recent and some as far back as April.

Kelly Tshibaka addresses members of the community at Nikiski Hardware & Supply on Friday, April 9, 2021 in Nikiski, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Peninsula campaign cash going to Tshibaka

Tshibaka raised about $1.2 million between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30.

Associated Press
The Statement of Facts to support the complaint and arrest warrant for Christian Manley say that Manley, the Alabama man accused of using pepper spray and throwing a metal rod at law enforcement protecting the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection, has been arrested in Alaska.
Authorities arrest Alabama man in Alaska after Jan. 6 riot

The FBI took Christian Manley into custody Friday in Anchorage.

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion
Gates indicate the entrance of Soldotna Community Memorial Park on Tuesday in Soldotna.
Soldotna’s cemetery expanding

The expansion is expected to add 20 years worth of capacity to the existing cemetery.

In this Aug. 26, 2020, file photo, U.S. Rep. Don Young, an Alaska Republican, speaks during a ceremony in Anchorage, Alaska. The longest-serving Republican in the U.S. House is appearing in a new round of ads urging Alaskans to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Ads featuring Young are being paid for by the Conquer COVID Coalition, Young spokesperson Zack Brown said by email Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)
Young urges vaccination in new ads

Young, 88, “believes the vaccines are safe, effective and can help save lives.”

A portable sign on the Sterling Highway advertises a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinaton booster clinic held 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
What you need to know about boosters

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility explained

Damage in a corner on the inside of the middle and high school building of Kachemak Selo School Nov. 12, 2019, in Kachemak Selo, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Repair costs rise as school facilities deteriorate

About $420 million worth of maintenance is needed at Kenai Peninsula Borough School District buildings.

Most Read