The Alaska state treasury has received its first-ever revenue from legal marijuana taxes. And while the one-month total appears small, big things are expected.
Four cannabis growers forked over $10,400 to the state after one month of the legal program. The first retail store in the state opened its doors for business on Oct. 29.
- RELATED LINK: Santa Pissed: North Pole To Ban Cannabis
One of the first retail stores, Greatland Ganja, gladly paid $5,600 in taxes in its first month of operation.
“We’re proud to be able to come in and pay our first marijuana tax. It’s something that we’ve been we’ve been working toward for between two and three years now so it’s nice to finally reach this day,” Leif Abel, co-owner and co-founder of Greatland Ganja in Kasilof, said. “It’s kind of as big of a day as our first sale was to us.”
It as a big day for Ken Alper, division director for the Alaska Department of Revenue’s Tax Division, too.
“This was the first delivery to the first couple of stores that happened to be open during the month of October,” Alper said. “We’re going to obviously see an upward trend.”
How Upward Is The Trend?
The Alaska Department of Revenue estimates that it will receive $6 million in 2017 and $12 million in 2018 from marijuana sales. That is a huge jump from the an earlier projection of between $3.7 million and $7 million a year.
But it’s not just the tax revenue that is filling the coffers in Alaska. Manufacturers and growers paid $341,512.50 in fees between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016. From July 1 through Nov. 1 this year, they paid another $428,144, according to the Peninsula Clarion.
According to the Tax Foundation, an independent tax policy research organization:
Alaska’s Measure 2 set a $50 per ounce tax on marijuana, paid by the marijuana cultivator when marijuana is transferred to a retail store or product marketing facility. At current going prices of $250 per ounce in Anchorage, this would be a 20 percent effective tax rate. (However, legislators have explored alternative taxation options.)
In the first month alone, growers paid taxes on about 13 pounds of marijuana.
Where does the money go? Half goes to the state’s general fund and half goes to programs to reduce repeat criminal offenders.
Highway is an essential source for cannabis science, how-to stories and demystifying marijuana. Want to read more? Thy these posts: The Majority Of Americans Now Want Legal Marijuana, Seattle’s Swankiest Marijuana Store Opens Its Doors, and Opioids Out, Cannabis In, Top Medical Research Journal Says.