Young marijuana plants grow indoors under lights at the Fireweed Factory in Juneau on Tuesday, March 14, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Young marijuana plants grow indoors under lights at the Fireweed Factory in Juneau on Tuesday, March 14, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Juneau marijuana sellers have biggest year yet

Growth in marijuana tax revenue continues statewide

Alaska’s second full year of marijuana sales came to an end in December, yielding more than $17 million in tax money for the state in the calendar year, according to numbers released this week.

This past year accounts for the bulk of marijuana tax revenue in the state’s brief legal marijuana history, according to the latest Department of Revenue numbers. Since companies could start selling marijuana in Alaska in October 2016, the state has collected just over $22 million. Anchorage ($7.1 million) and Fairbanks ($6.9 million) have contributed the most tax money to the state. Southeast Alaska has produced $1.8 million in taxes.

In Juneau specifically, six marijuana sellers collected just shy of $600,000 in taxes for the state in 2018, according to figures provided from the DOR. That’s about 3.4 percent of the statewide revenue.

It’s not possible to compare that figure with Juneau’s 2017 totals, DOR Excise Tax Manager Kelly Mazzei explained via email Thursday. Due to state confidentiality statutes AS 43.05.230(a) and AS 40.25.100(a), the department doesn’t release how much any particular taxpayer pays, Mazzei explained. The department needs at least three sellers to be in a city in order to aggregate the tax figures, and there can’t be a single taxpayer who paid more than 80 percent of the city’s total, Mazzei said.

Mazzei said 2018 is the first calendar year where there were enough sellers in Juneau (six) where the department could release the tax figures.

[Two years on, Alaska’s marijuana industry keeps growing]

In December, the state collected $1.49 million, an improvement from $1.44 million the previous month. Both of those totals are well below October 2018 ($1.84 million), which was by far the state’s most lucrative month in terms of marijuana tax collected. Juneau sellers collected $83,000 in marijuana tax, Mazzei said.

Taxes are paid at the wholesale level in Alaska, because cannabis moves from grower to retailer or manufacturer. Bud or flower is taxed at $50 per ounce, malformed, immature or seedy buds are taxed at $25 per ounce, and other plant parts are taxed at $15 per ounce.

In December, licensed cultivators sold or transferred 1,558 pounds of flower and 1,030 pounds of trim to either retail stores or product manufacturers, according to DOR numbers. In total since October 2016, 152 cultivators have collected marijuana tax, according to the latest DOR statistics. Of those 152 taxpayers, 21 didn’t have any taxable transactions in December, and 10 are no longer in business, the DOR monthly report stated.

Tax payments can be made in cash, checks, money orders, cashier’s checks or wire transfers. In December, 73 percent of payments were made in cash, which is about average according to DOR. The Mat-Su region has the most cultivators, but Anchorage and Fairbanks continue to have the highest number of taxable transactions.

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of May 18

Here’s what to expect this week.

Juneau high school seniors Edward Hu of Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé (left), Elizabeth Djajalie of Thunder Mountain High School (center) and Kenyon Jordan of Yaaḵoosgé Daakahídi Alternative High School. (Photos of Hu and Jordan by Juneau Empire staff, photo of Djajalie by Victor Djajalie)
Senior Spotlight 2024: Three top students take very different paths to graduation stage

Ceremonies for Juneau’s three high schools take place Sunday.

The entrance road to Bartlett Regional Hospital. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file photo)
Bartlett Regional Hospital looking at eliminating or trimming six ‘non-core’ programs to stabilize finances

Rainforest Recovery Center, autism therapy, crisis stabilization, hospice among programs targeted.

A king salmon. (Ryan Hagerty/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Biden administration advances bid to list Gulf of Alaska king salmon as endangered or threatened

Experts say request could restrict activity affecting river habitats such as road, home construction

Mayor Beth Weldon (left), Deputy Mayor Michelle Bonnet Hale and Juneau Assembly member Paul Kelly discussion proposals for next year’s mill rate during an Assembly Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Assembly members support lower 10.04 mill rate ahead of final vote on next year’s CBJ budget

Initial proposal called for raising current rate of 10.16 mills to 10.32 mills.

Dave Scanlan, general manager of Eaglecrest Ski Area, speaks to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Finance Committee on April 13, 2023. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Dave Scanlan forced out as Eaglecrest’s general manager, says decision ‘came as a complete shock to me’

Resort’s leader for past 7 years says board seeking a “more office-process, paper-oriented” manager.

The entrance to the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.’s Anchorage office is seen on Aug. 11, 2023. The state-owned AGDC is pushing for a massive project that would ship natural gas south from the North Slope, liquefy it and send it on tankers from Cook Inlet to Asian markets. The AGDC proposal is among many that have been raised since the 1970s to try commercialize the North Slope’s stranded natural gas. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Eight young Alaskans sue to block proposed trans-Alaska natural gas pipeline

Plaintiffs cite climate change that harms their access to fish, wildlife and natural resources.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Tuesday, May 21, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read