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Aaron Ralph, Cannabis Exchange, dispensary near me

Aaron Ralph

Founder / Owner

California born and raised in hippie culture by parents who favored adventure and experiences over materialism, and a mother who was a wildlife & nature photographer. In 1975 his parents sold their home and purchased a travel trailer with the goal of living off the grid and the ability to move with a moment’s notice. By the time Aaron was 12, they had visited all lower 48 states and their national parks at least twice. Being avid backpackers, the family set out one summer to complete the Susquehanna Trail System through the Appalachian Mountains. At the ages of seven and five years old, respectively, Aaron and his sister remain the youngest documented male and female to have completed that adventure. Having experienced all of the connected 48 states, and a month-long trip to Hawaii, his parents made the decision to travel to Alaska in the spring of 1984. Although the trip was only scheduled for four months, it became clear that this would become their new home, and Aaron has resided here ever since.

He has raised two sons: Jayce, 30; and Noah, 24; both lifelong Alaskans.

Over the past 18 years Aaron has advocated for cannabis reform (both hemp and marijuana). He has extensive knowledge of, and a deep passion for, the therapeutic and medicinal properties known to exist within cannabis; and has shared that knowledge with countless individuals worldwide, including public officials (in Alaska and across the entire US), medical professionals, and anyone else who showed an interest.

In 2015 Aaron was convinced to start a cannabis business here in
Alaska by his best friend, Geneva Cowen. The Alaska Cannabis Exchange - aka ACE - was founded and brought to life, bringing Alaska’s first hemp-derived CBD products to consumers. The hesitancy of legislators and other officials to adapt to the legality of cannabis has caused many roadblocks along the way; and the tragic loss of our beloved Geneva in December of 2020 was a crushing blow, only seven months after opening the brick and mortar store. Although moving forward without her was difficult, ACE has prevailed and grown into the respectable establishment it is today.


Jack Hobbs, Alaska Cannabis Exchange, dispensary near me

Jack Hobbs

General Manager

Jack is our newest team member here at ACE. His willingness to learn everything cannabis related along with his passion for business makes him a perfect match. He was born and raised in Anchorage alongside his 3 brothers Tommy, Matt, and Dari. He spent 8 years in Connecticut where he played college basketball and met his future wife Heather! Jack loves playing basketball and spending time with family and friends. His favorite strain is Dump Truck Blue Dream for its uplifting feeling and creative aspect.

Michael Gould, Alaska Cannabis Exchange, Dispensaries near me

Mike Gould

Purchasing Manager

Mike is ACE’s retail inventory manager, so he personally picks out all the fun strains, pieces, and merch you can find in our store. On his off time, he likes to blaze it up while gaming on his custom PC (gamer tag RageCityTV) and browsing the dankest of memes. He firmly believes that the best strain for gaming and dank memes is ACE’s Bear Berry indica.

Chris Dipictro, Alaska Cannabis Exchange, Dispensary near me

Chris Depietro

Evening Shift Lead /<br>Lead Budtender

Our #3 budtenders in the state in last year’s Alaska Press Picks! Chris was born in Marietta, Georgia but moved to Anchorage in 1974 where he was raised by wolves. He attended West Service and Bartlett High Schools back in the days before the internet and legal weed, and he is the proud father of a 20 year old son in his junior year of college. His favorite ACE strain is Purple Punch, and aside from enjoying our products (a LOT) Chris is passionate about almost any sport, and in particular likes to golf, fish, and coach Little League baseball in the summer.

Isaiah Persons, Alaska Cannabis Exchange, dispensary near me

Isaiah Persons


Isaiah, or “Izzy” as he’s known around the shop, has been with ACE for about two years. He generally prefers sativa strains of flower. Outside of work he loves to cook, play PC, and make art. He’s proud of his Cajun/Italian heritage, and chances are you can find him at F Street Station on any given day so say hi if you do!

Dalton Anderson, Alaska Cannabis Exchange, dispensary near me

Dalton Anderson


Hailing from Anchorage, Dalton is always looking for new strains of weed to experiment with. He loves all kinds of music and is always spinning a cool playlist when he’s behind the counter at our store. Of our ACE strains, his personal favorite is the Molokai Killaz for its relaxing, creative, euphoric high that can be enjoyed day and night. In his free time he likes to longboard around town, spend time with his family and go on adventures with friends.

Nicko, Alaska Cannabis Exchange, dispensary near me



Nicko is Dena'ina Athabascan and is currently 28 years old. He is a kid at heart and loves playing any and all kinds of music and instruments. Nicko is an extremely hard worker and If he isn't budtending he is probably fishing or carving ivory, some of which we sell here at ACE. Nicko's favorite type of cannabis is concentrates. His favorite strain to enjoy is our IMBG shatter because of its relaxing effect and ability to calm the nerves down.

Ben, Alaska Cannabis Exchange, dispensary near me



Ben is a connoisseur in the cannabis industry. He has personally seen, sampled, and sold more cannabis in the last decade than most people will see in their entire life. This kind of exposure to cannabis products level of knowledge he has collected has led to the title of “Terpene Master of Anchorage” and the award he holds to this day. Ben runs Best Budz Radio, a cannabis news and entertainment show. Ben loves many strains, but his favorite flower at ACE is our 4 Kings because he has always leaned towards the classic lemon, sandalwood, and gas flavors of Northern California, and the 4 Kings absolutely deliver the Cali smoke. This cross of Triple OG and L.A. OG melts you into a relaxed state of euphoric happiness and leaves you with the voracious appetite of a lion!

Cultivation STAFF

Justin Penn, Alaska Cannabis Exchange, Dispensary near me

Justin Penn

Wholesale Manager

Justin manages all of our wholesale distribution. Including flower, and joints produced by the cultivation as well as our CBD line. His favorite strain is Indiana Moonshine Bubblegum, his main hope for our industry is that everyone expands their horizons and tries all kinds of flowers. My goal is to educate others on cannabinoids and their personal effects and not just the THC cannabinoid, because everything else matters for your specific high.

David Hoffman, Alaska Cannabis Exchange, Dispensary near me

David Hoffman


“I’ve been growing cannabis for about 6 years in all types of ways. I am a big fan of new lights, and technology that comes to the market for cultivating. Cultivating is one of my biggest passions in life. I also enjoy riding my motorcycle, and outdoor adventures. I enjoy cartridges as my method of consumption for ease of access.”

Nick LaBarbara, Alaska Cannabis Exchange, dispensary near me

Nick LaBarbara


Nick has always had a passion for Cannabis and is happy to have a job in the AK Cannabis industry finally. Some of Nick’s hobbies include Kendama, Skate boarding, snowboarding, dancing with microlights, and growing plants. Nick’s favorite ACE strain to smoke is green crack, and his favorite ACE strain to grow is blue Magoo!

Dave Michelson, Alaska Cannabis Exchange, dispensary near me

Dave Michelson


“Well, my me very young age I grew up in West Coast Los Angeles, California. I moved to Alaska in July 1995. I love fishing, camping, and outdoor activities such as cooking, and gardening, love to travel; especially the Big Island of Hawaii. I am proud to be American, glad to be Alaskan, and happy to be working for one of the most beloved industries in the world, Marijuana Cultivation.”