KODIAK ISLAND—An Alaskan institution since 1973, last year the “Turkey of the Ocean” cannery found itself on hard times after the continued waning of the local fisheries on the Kenai Peninsula.
“Tuna populations are just disappearing,” says founder Bill Hughes. “It’s really not a profitable business any longer.”
Hughes explains how after months of despair he woke up one morning and walked over to where he keeps, as he says, “about a pound of cannabis at all times – and it just hit me… I’ve got a shit-ton of two things: weed and empty tuna cans.”
So Hughes, ever the optimist, pondered, “why not put the two items together?”
The next day, he recollects, “I phoned my Inuit buddy Little Scotty P to see how much bud he had on hand.” He had a lot, says Hughes, who then called his most trusted staff members that had been unemployed for months and pining for work – and soon “Can O’ Cannabis” was born.
Today, the company is shipping kilos of marijuana packed into tuna cans all over the Land of the Midnight Sun. Locally grown sativas and indicas head for points all over the state – Barrow, Denali, and Dutch Harbor – to old-timers repairing fishing nets on lonely docks and scientists studying ice sheets in the isolated Arctic Circle. The demand is obvious and untapped.
Fisherman Tig Nelson swears by Can O’ Cannabis. “Oh yeah, geez, I pack at least a dozen half-ounce cans every trip. It keeps my bud safe in these air and water tight containers, and that smell when you open up a new can… it’s like heaven,” he says. “And it’s easier to portion your bud and keep from running out before getting back home.”
After the widespread success of Can O’ Cannabis, Hughes reports he’s now working on a multi-feature can filled with buds, a lighter, papers, and a pipe that he calls “The Shindig in a Tin.”