Alaska is reaping the rewards from legalizing recreational cannabis with millions in revenue being the norm each month.
Alaska has been seeing a steady climb in revenue from taxes collected on cannabis since April. In July 2017, the state collected $578 million in cannabis tax revenue. In July 2018, Alaska collected over twice that amount, $1.37 million. The month of August brought $1.54 million in taxes from 111 growers, including 1.613 pounds of bud at $50 an ounce and 1,041 of trim at $15 an ounce.
“We absolutely are exceeding our predictions and additionally we are seeing a very steady increase in tax revenue collection each month,” said Kelly Mazzei, an excise tax supervisor with the Department of Revenue. “I don’t believe the market has saturated and we haven’t seen exactly what capacity the state is going to operate in as far as cultivation and retail stores and the other facilities. So we could continue to collect an unknown amount of money in taxes.”
The 2018 fiscal year saw over $11,094,000 revenue for the state, almost $2 million more than expected. Half of the income goes to programs within the Alaska Department of Corrections, Department of Public Safety, and Department of Health and Social Services that work with high risk offenders that need intervention of substance abuse treatment. The other half is split between a newly created cannabis fund with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the state’s general fund.
This summer, Gov. Bill Walker signed into law a bill that included the 25 percent cannabis tax revenue funding an education program.
“Revenue from that tax, 25 percent will go into a program associated with marijuana awareness and those kinds of things. It’s a multifaceted piece of legislation. A lot of hands involved with this one and it’s a very good piece of legislation,” Walker said.
Since the legalization of cannabis in Alaska in October 2016, $15.8 million has been collected in cannabis tax revenue.