Green Elephant Gardens gardener Scott Jones cares for a marijuana plant on Green Elephant’s first day of operation in June 2017. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire file)

Green Elephant Gardens gardener Scott Jones cares for a marijuana plant on Green Elephant’s first day of operation in June 2017. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire file)

Two years on, Alaska’s marijuana industry keeps growing

New figures show 115 taxpaying farms; largest number yet

Alaska’s marijuana industry is continuing to grow, new tax figures from the Alaska Department of Revenue show.

Two years after the opening of the state’s first retail marijuana store, 119 taxpayers remitted $1.5 million to the state of Alaska in September, the department said in its monthly update.

The state’s first sales of recreational marijuana to the general public were on Oct. 29, 2016 in Valdez. (A Fairbanks store had a soft opening the night before.)

Each month since October 2016, the state has reported more taxpayers than the month before, even if tax collections rise and fall.

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

September collections were down about $60,000 from August, the state reported, but continue an upward trend. January was the first month to report more than $1 million in taxes remitted to the state; every month since March has been above $1 million.

Kelly Mazzei, the state’s excise tax director, said by email that October collections, when finalized at the start of December, could reach $1.8 million, setting a new record.

To date, marijuana growers have paid $17.2 million in taxes, the state report indicates.

In September, 1,529 pounds of bud were transferred from growers and 1,077 pounds of trim were sold.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at jbrooks@juneauempire.com or 523-2258.


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