Marijuana tax revenue rises, but isn’t as high as state expected

(Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

(Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

The state of Alaska collected $128,000 of marijuana taxes from 20 growers statewide in February, according to new figures from the Alaska Department of Revenue.

That figure is up from January but still below the $145,500 collected by the state in December.

Marijuana follows a three-month cultivation cycle, and most of the state’s first certified growers had their first harvests in December. Another revenue surge is expected when March figures are reported at the end of April.

Growers sold 135 pounds of marijuana bud or flower (taxed at $50 per ounce) and 85 pounds of trim and other parts of the marijuana plant (taxed at $15 per ounce). Trim is typically turned into marijuana concentrates typically used in edible products.

The amount of trim has steadily increased over the past few months.

Overall, marijuana tax revenue is running well below the forecast the state made in December. At that time, the state expected $5 million in tax revenue during fiscal year 2017, which runs from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

Through the end of February, the state has received only $472,700. Harvests and tax revenue during the spring and early summer will raise that figure, but because the first tax revenue arrived in October 2016, the state is unlikely to hit its estimate.

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