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Alaska Marijuana News

Alaska collects first full month of marijuana tax revenue

Marijuana retailer Herbal Outfitters opened its doors to customer for the first time in Valdez on Oct. 29, 2016. (Marc Lester / ADN archive 2016)

The state of Alaska has received its batch of cannabis tax revenue from the first full month of retail marijuana sales.

In November, seven marijuana cultivators paid $81,100 to the Alaska Department of Revenue's Tax Division, division director Ken Alper wrote in an email.

About 98 pounds of marijuana bud and 10 pounds of trim — the leaves and stems — were sold wholesale, Alper wrote. Under Alaska law, cultivators pay the state's tax. Bud is taxed at $50 per ounce, and other parts of the plant, like the stems and leaves, are taxed at $15 per ounce.

Most of the taxes were paid in cash, and a few were paid with check, Alper wrote.

The numbers represent the first full month of Alaska's cannabis sales, with five stores operating statewide by the end of November — two in Fairbanks, one in Valdez, one in Juneau, and one on the Kenai Peninsula.

From Oct. 29, when the first store opened, to Dec. 6, total cannabis retail sales were $750,581.59, James Hoelscher, enforcement supervisor with the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office, told the Marijuana Control Board during its December meeting.

The first tax revenue hit the state treasury in November. Four cannabis growers generated $10,400 in tax revenue. Three retail stores opened in the final days of October.

Two more stores, one in Juneau and another on the Kenai Peninsula — opened in November. In December, Anchorage saw its first sales, with three stores opening during the month; another store has also opened in Fairbanks. On New Year's Eve, Sitka's first store, Weed Dudes, opened.

Half of the tax revenue will go to the state's general fund. The other half has been appropriated to programs aimed at reducing repeat criminal offenders.

State taxes are due at the end of the following month, so November taxes were due at the end of December.

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