New figures from the Alaska Department of Revenue reveal Alaska’s legal marijuana industry has reached a pinnacle of sales and production.
Last March, 27 growers paid the state $220,229 in tax revenue. Alaskans purchased 225 pounds of weed or flower and 169 pounds of other plant parts commonly used as raw material for concentrates.
Every one of those numbers are the highest since the state’s first legal marijuana sales happened in the last days of October.
Tax figures trail real sales by one month; numbers for March are released at the end of April. April’s numbers will probably be released at the end of May.
$693,029 in marijuana tax revenue from cultivators has been collected by the state of Alaska. Flower is taxed at $50 per oz and other plant parts are taxed at $15 per oz.
The Alaska Department of Revenue has predicted the state will collect $2 million in the fiscal year that ends July 1. Sales would need to average $433,000 in April, May and June to reach that amount.
Sales have stayed stubbornly below state projections for many different reasons including a slower-than-anticipated regulatory procedure, the time required for cultivation and harvest, and the fact that out-of-state investment isn’t allowed.
Cultivators and retailers are made to bootstrap their own businesses, which requires them to slowly raise production as their monthly gains permit.
Under Alaska’s rules, the cultivators pay state taxes and not the retailers. Because marijuana is still illegal under federal laws, it’s not taxed by the U.S. government.
Even though only Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska have completely fledged their industries, eight states along with the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana.
In Alaska, Fairbanks stays the industry’s hotbed. In March, nine cultivators — one in three of all the state’s growers — were paying taxes. Anchorage had just two, the same with Sitka.
Juneau had only one taxpaying cultivator in March; more additional cultivators are anticipated to start sales this May.