Standing in the large front room of Juneau’s newest marijuana dispensary, Jennifer Canfield reflected on her good fortune.
Canfield, who co-owns Green Elephant Gardens with Richard Dudas, has already heard feedback on the dispensary’s setup. It’s located in a large warehouse out by Juneau’s Rock Dump district, and there’s room for the dispensary to become a destination instead of just a place to pick up pot.
“It’s enormous,” Canfield said. “Everybody keeps telling us that there’s nothing else like it, and I believe it, because it’s still a young industry, but that doesn’t say anything about us. We got super lucky finding this place, and we’re making the best of it.”
The shop quietly opened this past weekend, selling one of its strains and edibles from Mo Mo’s Bakery in Anchorage. For now, patrons can buy those products, as well as pipes, rolling papers and other standard marijuana-related items. The major excitement around Green Elephant, though, is what is still to come.
The building — where Canfield and Dudas have lived upstairs for about a year — includes a kitchen, a large growing room and an even larger front room. The front room is currently empty, featuring windows to view the growing room where plants grow from carefully maintained soil, overseen by gardener Scott Jones, among others.
That front room offers Green Elephant a number of different options. In April, for instance, it was the site of a First Friday event (co-hosted by Trickster Co.) that included artwork from Will Kozloff. Later this summer, a new form of art will be on display there.
Kyle Welch, a glassblower currently based in Colorado, is making his way up at the end of July. He’ll occupy a section of the large room at Green Elephant and will be blowing glass live while customers come in. There will be a partition with a window in order to keep spectators away from the equipment while still allowing them to watch. Eventually, Welch will take special orders as well.
Having the glass blowing on one end of the room and the windows to the growing room at the other end of it could make for a “spectacle,” as Canfield put it. Another wall of the front room is shared with the kitchen, so when Green Elephant starts making its own edibles, that could be yet another addition to “the spectacle.”
These kind of spectator-oriented attractions will likely appeal to tourists, Canfield said. The dispensary is just a short walk from the Alaska-Juneau Dock, so cruise passengers will be able to swing by if they want.
While some aspects of the dispensary will cater more to tourists, there’s no specific target demographic. Green Elephant is experiencing what Juneau’s other dispensaries (Rainforest Farms and Fireweed Factory) have also seen: The demand for the product is high, across numerous ages and lifestyles.
“Maybe a year down the line, maybe two years down the line, it’s hard to say,” Canfield said when considering whether a target demographic will form, “but when there’s enough product where you’re not selling out by the end of the night, then you can start thinking about, ‘What is our demographic?’ Honestly I think our demographic is everyone.”
For now, the operation is starting out small. Though it has opened up for a couple days this week, Green Elephant projects to stick to weekend hours for a while. Its doors will open at 4:20 p.m. Fridays (both because it coincides with the workday ending and because, quite frankly, it’s 4:20) and run until 8 p.m. On both Saturday and Sunday, the shop will be open from 2-8 p.m.
Canfield and Dudas will likely be there, and lucky patrons might get a chance to meet their dog Suki, who makes an occasional appearance. That feeling of good fortune is a theme with Green Elephant, and Canfield still is a bit in disbelief that this project that started in 2014 is finally getting off the ground.
“Every day I’m surprised that we have as many plants as we do, like no one’s gonna come, the DEA’s not gonna come slamming on our door,” Canfield said, laughing. “It’s kind of like a dream every day. It’s surreal all the time.”
Where: 101 Mill Street, just off Thane Road
Hours: 4:20-8 p.m. Friday, 2-8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Prices: $20 for a gram, $30 for edible
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org.