Alaska Growers Threatened by Craze for High-Potency Cannabis

The price of cannabis in Alaska appears to be tied directly to a product’s THC potency and that could be bad news for some growers, according to an Anchorage Daily News report.

As cannabis farmers around the country begin to experiment with expanded terpene profiles and alternative cannabinoids like CBD, CBN, THCA, and others, Alaskan growers are being funneled into producing potent, THC-rich cannabis crops in order to compete on the marketplace.

“Alaskans have an obsession with marijuana that tests over 20 percent (THC).” — Brandon Emmett, Marijuana Control Board member and cannabis manufacturer, via

On average, the price of THC-rich cannabis (20% or more) in Alaska can reach as high as $18 per gram; in contrast, a 14% potency strain would likely cost about $10 per gram. That sort of price difference isn’t unheard of in other markets — but, when the reason for that discrepancy is tied to a crop’s potency, churning out a lower-potency strain can become a major economic blow to one of the state’s startup cultivators.

Like other states, cannabis products in Alaska must go through rigorous testing before they can hit store shelves. However, there are just two labs currently operating in the space and their testing procedures are not standardized.

Jessica Alexander, lab director for New Frontier Research, one of Alaska’s two testing labs, told Anchorage Daily News that the there is an “overwhelming” amount of growers who are “heartbroken” when their products test at less than 20 percent THC.

“It’s real nonsense, but it’s driving the cost, and it’s going to drive people out of business,” Alexander said.

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