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Alaska Marijuana News

Alaska cannabis tax revenue tops $700K in September

Cultivator Sean Dunn waters marijuana plants to be harvested at the Great Northern Cannabis facility in Anchorage on Aug. 31, 2017. (Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News)

Alaska's marijuana tax revenue continued a steady climb upward in September, with $723,757 collected statewide, according to a state official.

Sixty-four growers from across the Interior, Southcentral and Southeast paid taxes to the Alaska Department of Revenue last month, wrote Kelly Mazzei, excise tax supervisor in the tax division.

Under Alaska's law, growers pay the tax of $50 an ounce for bud, and $15 an ounce for other parts of the plant, like leaves and stems.

A total of 716 pounds of bud was sold wholesale in September, and 630 pounds of trim, according to data provided by Mazzei.

Fifteen of the cannabis growers were in Fairbanks, and 10 were in Anchorage. Juneau, Kasilof, North Pole and Soldotna each had four growers, and the rest were scattered across other communities, Mazzei wrote in an email.

To date, Alaska has collected $3,741,810 in cannabis taxes. Most of it — a full 68 percent — has been paid in cash, Mazzei wrote.

Alaska's first marijuana shop opened for business Oct. 29, 2016. Revenue was slow to start, as demand outweighed supply, and retailers struggled to get enough cannabis in their shops to keep their doors open.

In June, revenue nearly doubled after three months of hovering around $250,000. Since then, tax revenue has steadily climbed.

Mazzei wrote that October's revenue could top $1 million, a potentially "amazing milestone" for the state.

Many local governments have also put additional cannabis sales taxes in place.

Last year, the Alaska Legislature budgeted half of the cannabis tax to programs aimed at reducing repeat criminal offenders. The other half goes into the general fund.

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