Nice of the Alaska Legislature to hold a rare offseason committee hearing in response to the marijuana industry whining about lack of profits due to supposed black market marijuana sales. And after a lobbyist related the situation as “desperate,” it looks like the Legislature, along with input and support from industry insiders is willing to look at a small, point-of-sale sales tax, as opposed to the current $50 per ounce production tax.
One problem, though: Lots of people, myself included, originally voted for the ballot initiative just because of those large per-ounce production taxes. You know, the ones that were going to fund anti-drug and treatment programs to offset the downside of legal weed.
Now? Now that producers are not getting enough green for their green it looks like anti-drug and treatment programs are basically up in smoke, with an all-too-compliant Legislature lighting the match.
At the end of the day, maybe it’s time for Alaska to keep its high tax rates on marijuana. And if producers and industry insiders aren’t making enough money on the deal they struck? Then let’s send this back to the ballot box, where all the pros and cons of legal weed sales can be weighed anew in light of the very small point-of-sale sales taxes that are now on the table.
— Hal Homer
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