Kodiak’s second marijuana retail store, The Dejavu Cannabis Company, opened Nov. 23 for its soft opening and had its grand opening the following Wednesday.
During the grand opening the owner, Drew Sablon said around 60 locals visited his store with many hailing from Bells Flats, Pasagshak and Chiniak.
“It was very laid back and mellow, not a big grand rush,” said Sablon of the grand opening. “People had fun.”
For Sablon, the opening of his Bells Flats cannabis store was a dream come true.
“It’s been a dream of mine for over 20 years. I’ve seen it before in my head, I finally have my own pot shop,” Sablon said.
After many years working as a chef in the Lower 48 and in Kodiak for the past eight years, Sablon finally opened his own marijuana store behind the Rendezvous Bar and Grill.
Although he primarily works at his store, he still grills steak at the Rendezvous for its weekly steak nights.
Inside his store, large mason jars lined one of the walls and were filled to the brim with different marijuana varieties. The different strains had vibrant names such as Pineapple Chunk, Peanut Butter Punch, Ice Cream and Gorilla Glue.
“It’s called Ice Cream, because it’s smooth when you smoke it,” he said of one of the varieties that smelled like chocolate and coffee.
Dejavu sells joints to order where customers can choose from around 16 different marijuana varieties. Sablon sources most of his products from local business Bells Flats Botanicals and some from Anchorage and Juneau.
The store also sells blended joints where customers can pick more than one variety to roll into a joint.
In addition to selling cannabis, the store also sells CBD creams and salves.
To make his dream a reality, Sablon went through the lengthy process of acquiring the proper permits and getting approval from the state and the Kodiak Island Borough.
He said inspectors came to inspect almost every corner of his store — from the foundation to the sheet rock, the handicap ramp, bathrooms and security cameras.
Nestled on a corner lot behind the Rendezvous, Sablon built much of his 16-by-24 building by himself and relied on help from the community.
Sablon said he hopes his store becomes a community space where people will not only buy his products, but also to “hang out,” converse and learn, Sablon said.
He said he will check with the borough about obtaining an onsite consumption permit.
Sablon said he wants to break the stigma surrounding marijuana.
“My staff is eager to answer questions for people and make a comfortable environment to ask, and not feel intimidated. I welcome questions,” Sablon said. “It’s an inviting environment here, I want people to hang out and chat.”
In the near future Sablon wants to hold classes during weekends to teach the community about cannabis: what it is, what are marijuana concentrates, and how to grow the plant and make edibles.
In one corner of his store, Sablon set up a small library for people to check out books on cannabis. He also added a table where customers can sit, eat a snack, have a cup of coffee, play cards and board games, and converse.
He has created the 420 Club Membership, where people can sign up to receive discounts, newsletters and information on his upcoming classes.
Sablon had previously created another group, the Kodiak Island Cannabis Coalition, to advocate for recreational marijuana before the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly in 2017.
He said he might rally the group to advocate for allowing the sale of edible marijuana products on the island.
“A lot of people request it and want it. Hopefully the borough will reconsider in January,” Sablon said, adding that if he feels the need, he might rally the coalition to voice their opinions on the issue.