KTNA Studio – Dave Totten, artist

Photo by Deb Wessler

Photo by Dora Miller

KTNA Studio

KTNA On Air Studio, Jan 2013

Photo by Deb Wessler

Photo by James Trump

Winter Black-capped Chickadee

winter chickadee

Photo by Robin Song

Fish Lake morning

Fish Lake morning

photo: Robin Song


Talkeetna’s first marijuana retailer opens its doors

by Phillip Manning ~ May 12th, 2017


After more than a year of the state’s regulatory process, Talkeetna’s first marijuana retail store has opened its doors. KTNA’s Phillip Manning was there and has more.

Talkeetna’s first legal marijuana sale took place on Friday afternoon when The High Expedition opened its doors for the first time. Joe McAneney refers to this as a soft opening, since most of the people who were there either heard by word-of-mouth or happened by as people were waiting for the opening at “high noon,” Joe’s words.

A mix of both locals and visitors gathered outside the shop to await the opening. Keith Durling of Ft. Meyers, Florida, says he didn’t know that recreational marijuana is legal in Alaska, and happened by with his friend, Matt Adams.

Durling said, “We’re actually here with an expert. He’s been smoking dope since the early ‘70s.” Durling added that his career had kept him from consuming cannabis.  He said, “I’m a retired federal employee—I worked for the CIA—so I’ve never partaken in this.”

Locals made up the majority of the people waiting for the doors to open. Mark Green, who often goes by “Mark of the Wild,” was determined to be the first customer of The High Expedition. He waited from at least 9:00 am on to make sure he would be the first in line. After a long wait on a beautiful Talkeetna afternoon, the moment came.

Mark of the Wild was indeed the first through the door and the first to the cash register.

"Mark of the Wild" (front) and Joe McAneney moments after completing the first legal retail sale of cannabis in Talkeetna. Photo: Phillip Manning - KTNA

“Mark of the Wild” (front) and Joe McAneney moments after completing the first legal retail sale of cannabis in Talkeetna. Photo: Phillip Manning – KTNA


As they made the transaction, Joe thanked Mark, but Mark insisted on thanking Joe, saying he had been “waiting for this all my life.”

Joe McAneney had Mark sign a dollar bill to commemorate the first legal cannabis sale in Talkeetna.

12 Responses to Talkeetna’s first marijuana retailer opens its doors

  1. Mike Stoltz

    What a joke KTNA has turned in to!
    Please explain how adding a Federally Illegal Schedule one intoxicant dealer on Main Street Talkeetna is good for our children and Talkeetna in General?

  2. lance leslie

    Not for sale to minors. Supervision of children is their parents’ responsibility.

  3. George Boyce

    Do you think selling alcohol on Main Street should be a thing? If so that makes people with those feelings are hypocrites.

  4. Pete Wininger

    Thankfully your opinion is now among a shrinking minority of uninformed baby boomers and prison-complex profiteers. Have Fun with that!

  5. Constance twigg

    What a disrespect of Don Sheldon Legendary hero ! I think this is as low as you can get!

  6. Misty Herlehy

    Great story! Congrats Joe, and Mark too!

  7. Mike Stoltz

    Stupidity is comparing intoxicants !
    The cruise lines have banned marijuana from their properties, the B&B’s and Lodges in Talkeetna don’t want pot smokers, the Fishing Guides and River Guides don’t want pot smokers, the Flight Services don’t want pot smokers, using pot in public is illegal, I am still waiting for the druggies to name something beneficial to lawless Talkeetna coming from High Expeditions.

  8. Jerry McAneney

    Congratulations Joe on opening your business in Talkeetna! Love mom and dad!

  9. lance leslie

    Joe and his business partner Dan are good, solid citizens and business people, and are known and respected by many more Talkeetnans than the small minority of those who would judge them negatively and unfairly. Joe sits on the local Water & Sewer board, and coaches high school soccer. Dan has been a longtime master log builder in the area. I certainly wouldn’t characterize them as “outsiders.” The photo that hangs in the shop shows the members of the famous winter Denali expedition that included Ray Genet. There are many photos of Genet, along with climbing memorabilia featured in the shop. This is all part of the company’s theme, and name. I can tell you that lots of mountain climbers enjoy cannabis, and it’s very much a part of climbing culture. Since climbing is the major draw for Talkeetna, this business fits in very well. The High Expedition has endorsement from virtually all of the Main St. merchants, and it is a welcome addition, and unique flavor to a town which has always embraced freedom of choice, taking your best shot, and being different. These are the things that are in too short of supply here today. As to legality, the operation is fully permitted and monitered by the state authority, and would have not been approved in its location if in violation of any state-set regulations. Alaskans, by a significant majority vote, approved recreational cannabis, as did Mat-Su Borough voters. We must respect the will of the people, regardless of personal bias.

  10. Connie twigg

    Our people of this town who has been here forever should have a say” but our crooked brorgh has fixed it so these out siders could come in to make money for them too! Very sad for our neat little town. We lose the meaning what our town is. The old days will be gone with the new people who come in and change it all and they loved it at first. Time to move!

  11. Holly Sheldon Lee

    The people who grew up here and the people who raised their kids here are disgusted and disappointed that the governments who are suppose to protect the Talkeetna Alaskans have ushered these Outsiders into the heart of our town with dollar signs in their eyes. It is my opinion that this store is illegal six ways to Sunday and will trap our curious children into addiction when their system experiences the first taste of high level thc. We are in a heroin & opioid epidemic and have a highly disproportionate amount of liquor licenses for the size of our town already. The last thing we need on Main Street is a good cabin turned into a jail selling dope.
    You can tell the caliber these people who moved here for the drug money by the picture they first hung center stage in their business on opening day. My Father worked hard all of his career here building the name of his business before he passed on in 1975. Owners of High Expedition, without permission, tried to cash in on my Dad’s fame by showing his business name front and center in their marketing. They tried to “get away” with it even knowing how I feel about what they are doing. That is who is here now.

  12. Connie twigg

    You are so right Holly!