February 04, 2018 | WES ABNEY
Family connection to Cannabis for healing at this Fairbanks Cannabis shop.
A classic Fairbanks gas station is pumping out a new type of diesel under the vision and leadership of two local brothers
Grass Station 49 is the creation of Mason and Gary Evans, whose journey into Cannabis began in an unexpected way. Neither were heavy pot smokers growing up, with a background in mining which meant both had to pass drug tests for employment. While they didn’t use Cannabis, they weren’t sure on whether it had medicinal values until a family illness changed their lives.
“We were really introduced to Cannabis when both our grandmother and mother were diagnosed with cancer. Grandma had stage two colon and stage four liver cancer, and our mom had stage three colon cancer,” Mason said. “They started using edibles and we watched it begin to help, but then our mom began chemo and started having seizures.”
The seizures culminated when their mom, who works with animals, was kicked in the head by a horse. She called to report that she was fine and driving to the hospital, but she was found a half hour later, fully seizing in a complete grand mal seizure.
“We’d seen her have 100 seizures before, but this was worse, she was completely unresponsive. They told us the major seizing caused part of brain to disconnect, got in a state of no emotion,” Mason said emotionally. “She knew she was supposed to know us but didn’t remember her sons, her husband, she talked like a toddler and this went on for 17 days. They say after two weeks it’s permanent. And on that day she snapped out of it.”
Over time she was able to recover, through a narcotic-free treatment method. The proof was enough for the brothers to fully believe in the values of medical Cannabis.
“We started her out light, CBD in the morning with vapor pens, and she got to the point where she was using so much CBD we were having to travel to pick up product by the suitcase. I wrote a letter to the Daily Miner about how much it helped during the No Vote, today she is fully functional and back at work, it’s amazing.”
Gary pitched the idea of a Cannabis retail operation to Mason a short while later, who had a nest egg from a previous staffing business, and the two began working to open the store.
“We came from a world where, my god, if you fail a piss test you are a horrible person,” Gary said. “They even told our father they would kick him off the mines if he went into our weed store.”
They found the location through their grandmother, a commercial real estate agent, who had managed the property for years, and Grass Station 49 was born. The first of three stores coming under the name in Fairbanks, Grass Station 49 is run differently than the vertically integrated model that is common in Alaska.
“We carry a ton of cultivators, they’re the reason we do business and exist. We focus on their brands first, and we are just the middle men connecting consumers to the best products available.
By being selective about the farms, and building personal relationships with cultivators, the brothers plan to have a future based on mutual respect and prosperity.
“We won’t carry a brand if we haven’t visited the farm, and we want to connect with our farmers at least once a month. Take them to lunch, shake their hand and tell them thanks for producing quality Cannabis,” Mason said. “If we have happy clients and happy employees and a great reception, then our customers will be happy and we will all succeed and be happy. People coming in say it’s the best part of their day, and we don’t take that lightly.”
Inside Grass Station 49 are shelves full of Cannabis, all with brand identity facing outward to make it easy for customers to pick a farm and strain. It’s part of the strategy to put brands first. The store packages all its own product, buying in bulk from producers and creating custom branded packaging that is transparent but displays the farm brand first.
“These farms need to be recognized! You walk into our store and you see their logos and nothing else. We want to help cultivators make their brand, help them become the next Coca Cola.”
Grass Station 49
1326 Cushman St, Fairbanks, AK
(907) 374-4420 GrassStation49.com
Open 9a to midnight daily