Marijuana tax revenue grows again

Alaska is continuing to make more money from marijuana, according to new figures from the Alaska Department of Revenue.

The state collected $723,757 in taxes from marijuana farms in September, according to excise tax director Kelly Mazzei. Marijuana revenue has risen every month of 2017, climbing from $107,527 collected in January. According to preliminary figures for October, Alaska could collect more than $1 million when that tally is finalized at the end of November.

“This could be an amazing milestone for Alaska,” Mazzei said by email.

Since recreational marijuana sales began in the last days of October 2016, the state has collected more than $3.7 million in excise taxes. Municipalities across the state have collected even more: Most, like the City and Borough of Juneau, levy additional taxes.

In the CBJ, the marijuana tax is 8 percent. Finance Director Bob Bartholomew said by email that the city will not release details of local tax collections until there are at least five taxpayers, and not until they’ve been paying taxes for about a year. Releasing information before then might allow someone to reverse-engineer the figures to determine how well an individual business is doing.

Bartholomew said by email that the city’s budget contains an expectation of $400,000 in marijuana taxes during the current fiscal year, and that number is still accurate.

Under state and local law, marijuana taxes are paid at the wholesale level when marijuana is transferred from a farm to a retail store. Juneau gained a fourth operating marijuana farm in September, according to Mazzei.

“We had eight new taxpayers pay taxes in September — one each in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, North Pole, Palmer, and Soldotna. There were two new taxpayers in Homer,” she wrote by email.

Farms sold 716 pounds of marijuana flower and 630 pounds of other plant parts to processors or retailers in September, according to state figures. That’s less flower (or bud) than was sold in August, but the amount of trim was greater. Flower is taxed at $50 per ounce; trim at $15 per ounce. Trim is typically processed into other products rather than sold over the counter as flower is.

• Contact reporter James Brooks at or call 523-2258.

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