Marijuana sales drop for second straight month

Alaska marijuana sales have dropped for the second consecutive month after nearly a year of steady increases.

According to figures released last week by the tax division of the Alaska Department of Revenue, the state collected $784,176 in December from 70 taxpaying farms. Tax reports trail collections by a month to account for late payments.

While tax revenue was below both November and October figures, the number of taxpaying farms continued to increase.

In Alaska, marijuana is taxed at the wholesale level, when marijuana is transferred from farms to retail stores. The tax, prescribed by Alaska state law, is $50 per ounce of marijuana flower and $15 per ounce of other plant parts.

According to the new state figures, 824 pounds of flower and 519 pounds of other plant parts were transferred in December.

In October, the state pocketed more than $950,000 in tax revenue from the state’s young commercial marijuana industry. That dropped to just over $872,000 in November.

Alaska’s first commercial marijuana sales took place in the last days of October 2016 in Fairbanks and Valdez, almost two years after Alaska voters approved a 2014 ballot measure that made the state the third (after Washington and Colorado) to legalize a commercial industry.

Since October 2016, the state has collected more than $6.3 million from the industry.

Preliminary indications provided by the tax division indicate January collections will reverse the two-month downward trend and may top the $1 million mark for the month.

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