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Alaska Marijuana News

Alaska collects more than $1 million in marijuana taxes in March

Jamie Bridges, assistant store manager, works behind the counter on April 30, 2018. Hillside Natural Wellness, a marijuana dispensary, is located on Toloff Street in South Anchorage. (Marc Lester / ADN)

More than $1 million in marijuana taxes was collected by Alaska's Department of Revenue in March, officials said Tuesday.

That's 1,106 pounds of marijuana bud, and 852 pounds of trim (cannabis leaves and stem), that were sold wholesale, according to Kelly Mazzei, excise tax supervisor at the Alaska Department of Revenue.

The $1,089,580 in taxes, paid by 92 growers, is the biggest monthly total the state has collected from Alaska's nascent cannabis industry since sales began in October 2016.

In Alaska, a flat tax of $50 per ounce is levied on bud, and $15 per ounce levied on trim, although some argue that the tax structure should be changed.

Growers hailed from Southcentral, Interior and Southeast Alaska. Twenty-five growers came from Fairbanks and North Pole; 17 were in Anchorage.

By region, the Kenai Peninsula has the most growers and has paid the most taxes overall, Mazzei wrote in an email. Twenty-nine growers from the Kenai Peninsula have paid more than $3.2 million in taxes since sales began, she wrote.

Taxes continue to be paid primarily in cash — 76 percent of all payments in March, Mazzei wrote — which are processed using a single cash-counting machine in Anchorage.

Officials estimate that April's taxes will remain above $1 million. Mazzei said the tax division is on track to reach its forecast of $9.2 million in cannabis taxes for fiscal year 2018, which ends June 30.