Cannabis has been legal to qualifying patients for medicinal purposes for quite some time, and recreational marijuana followed suit in 2014. This article undresses the ins and outs of Alaskan cannabis regulations, where locals are purchasing quality cannabis seeds, which strains would thrive in the Anchorage climate, and a few outdoor grow tips for the region.
Anchorage, AK, and Cannabis Laws
Anchorage is the city of many outdoor lovers’ dreams, with an endless array of natural landscapes to explore and gawk at. Below, we dive a bit deeper into the city’s history and current state, as well as the marijuana laws in Alaska.
City of Anchorage
The Dena’ina Athabascan were the first recorded people group to inhabit what is now Anchorage. Researchers have confirmed that they lived in the region over 1,000 years ago, hunting and gathering for their livelihood. The Anchorage that we know today was largely colonized in the early 1900s when the construction of the Alaska Railroad carried many settlers and railroad workers to the area.
Currently, Anchorage is home to the largest amount of people in Alaska, many of whom are indigenous peoples, alongside residents of European, Asian, Hispanic, and African descent. Historically, residents in Anchorage made a good amount of their income by deep sea fishing, participating in the military, catering to tourists, and working in the oil/ gas industry. Although these are still leading industries in the area, there is a large influx of people finding employment in the medical and educational fields, especially at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Small businesses are also rising in popularity, with many entrepreneurs starting their own tech, art, and brewing businesses.
Anchorage is likely one of the most beautiful and serene cities to live in the United States, as the city is nestled beneath the snow-capped Chugach Mountains, which contains the popular mountain of Denali, and within a stone’s throw of the pristine ocean. Wildlife is also at its peak in Alaska, with moose, eagle, and bear sightings a regular occurrence among Anchorage locals. Although modernity has had its effect on the architecture in the city, there are still many rustic and cozy log cabins that speckle the region. As for nature, Anchorage is the outdoor lover’s heaven! The city is close to seemingly never-ending magical forests, mountains, and the ocean, and many tourists and locals enjoy mountain and glacial climbing, hiking, camping, practicing survival skills, witnessing the insanely awe-inspiring Northern Lights, fishing, and mountain biking.
While the outdoor possibilities are endless, they come at a price… the subarctic climate in Anchorage can be less than ideal for some people during the winter months. Winters are dark and disgustingly cold (in this Californian’s opinion), with temperatures often resting below freezing levels. Summers in Anchorage are like no other, though, with temps usually in the 60s and 70s. Due to the northern location of the city, local growers must cultivate within a pretty short growing season, but it can be done! Common produce includes vegetables that are resilient in cold weather, berries, and… cannabis!
Marijuana Laws in Alaska
Alaska is anything but rigid in its stance toward cannabis, and in 2014, the state was one of the first in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana. The legalization of recreational cannabis allows people who are 21 and older to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana from licensed dispensaries and grow up to six cannabis plants for personal use, if so desired. Cannabis has been available to qualifying medical patients for even longer, but medical marijuana patients are subject to the same possession, purchase, and cultivation limits as recreational users. Alaska also decriminalized the possession and cultivation of small amounts of weed in 1975, which was nearly revolutionary for the country as a whole!
Types of Marijuana Seeds and Strains
Alaska can be a tough cookie to crack when it comes to seed strains that can survive its monstrous weather. While indoor cultivation might be the best option for locals, we’ll provide a little insight into various marijuana seed strains that could thrive outdoors, as well.
Feminized Marijuana Seeds
Feminized cannabis seeds are typically what growers prefer, in contrast to regular seeds, all over the world since they only produce female plants and not male plants. Female plants are ideal because they give way to THC- and CBD-rich buds, which male plants do not. Feminized seeds are generally photoperiod strains, so they switch from the vegetative to the flowering phase when the light schedule changes. In Anchorage, light has a mind of its own–summer days are incredibly long and winter nights are equally just as never-ending. Many feminized strains should be grown indoors so that growers can control the lighting schedule for their marijuana plants. In this scenario, strains can be cultivated year-round.
For cultivators who are adamant about growing outdoors, indica-dominant strains may be their best bet, due to their shorter flowering times and hardiness when it comes to cold temperatures. Planting in late spring or early summer could be a good idea.
Auto-flowering seeds are feminized strains that have had cannabis ruderalis genetics added to them. This genetic alteration gives auto seeds the ability to flower based on their age and not based on light conditions. It also affords these seeds incredible resilience when faced with outdoor conditions that are not necessarily tame. The first auto-flowering strains emerged in the early 2000s and influenced the cannabis industry astronomically
Auto-flowering strains (preferably of the indica variety) can potentially be the best choice for outdoor cultivation in Anchorage. Their speedy growth and ability to flower without changing light cycles means that they can go from seed to harvest before the arrival of frost in the fall. They can also be ideal choices for indoor growers since their genetics also provide them with a smaller overall size than original feminized plants.
Favorite Strains for Anchorage
The following strains are nearly guaranteed to provide growers with successful cultivation and harvest in the sometimes brutal climate conditions of Anchorage:
- Sweet Tooth: This indica-dominant strain has a relatively short growth cycle, is resistant to pests and diseases, and can weather the cold to some extent, making it a good choice for outdoor or indoor growth in Anchorage. It offers sweet, woody flavors and a euphoric, relaxing high.
- Blueberry Auto: This Indica-dominant hybrid is ultra-hardy, tough, and grows quite quickly, which are all ideal characteristics for cultivation in Anchorage. Its delicious berry flavors and comfy THC content of around 16% make this the perfect strain in many a cannabis connoisseur’s eyes.
- Alaska Thunderfuck Auto: This balanced hybrid was birthed in the Alaskan Matanuska Valley, which predisposes it to survive and thrive in the sometimes harsh climate of Anchorage! Users adore its potent THC content of approximately 22% and sweet, earthy flavors, while cultivators are ecstatic when their outdoor yields are around 850 grams per plant.
Cultivating Marijuana in Anchorage
Anchorage growers have the option of purchasing cannabis seeds online or in person, and we’ll give you some of the pros and cons of each choice!
Where to Purchase High-Quality Seeds
Local seed banks can be a convenient way for growers to purchase cannabis seeds in person while supporting local businesses. However, the downside of purchasing from local seed banks is that they often do not have a large selection of strains and can be pricier than online seed banks.
Online seed banks, like the reputable Growers Choice Seeds, offer a wide selection of weed seeds and a huge variety of strains for customers to choose from. Each strain has an in-depth product description that details the strain’s optimal growing conditions, effects, terpene profiles, yield sizes, and flowering times, which are all quite necessary to have an overall successful cultivation experience. Growers Choice Seeds also offers discreet shipping and one of the best germination guarantees in the market!
Outdoor Grow Tips for Anchorage
Anchorage has a short growing season, varying light conditions, and quite cold temperatures, which can make it somewhat of a challenge to cultivate marijuana outdoors if growers are not prepared. Be sure to:
- Select strains that are resilient to cold temperatures and have a shorter flowering time, such as indica-dominant and auto-flowering strains.
- Start your outdoor growth in late spring or early summer to take full advantage of the short growing season.
- Use raised beds or pot your marijuana plants to help with drainage and soil temperatures.
- Keep a close eye on weather forecasts and make sure to cover the outdoor plants as soon as possible if temperatures are expected to be exceptionally cold and frosty.
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