Alaska’s cannabis tax revenue collections decreased slightly in September compared to previous months, but recent data still shows that the state collected $1.48 million. This sum was only $60,000 less than the state’s all-time high of $1.54 million, which was collected in August.
The tax revenue data that the Alaskan Department of Revenue shared on its website only pertains to cannabis cultivators, and it does not cover retail tax revenue data. According to the breakdown, the total amount of cannabis tax revenue that was collected for the current fiscal year is $4.39 million.
The aforementioned revenue comes from cultivators who are responsible for paying the excise tax when cannabis is sold or transferred from a cultivator to a processing or manufacturing facility, or to a dispensary for direct retail. Twenty-five percent of the cannabis excise tax revenue goes toward educational costs in Alaska, funding a drug awareness program.
However, according to the state’s Excise Tax Director Kelly Mazzei, October collections are poised to set a new record of $1.8 million in cannabis state excise tax revenue. The steady revenue is not showing signs of slowing its growth, with revenues below $1 million only once this calendar year, in February.
However, Alaska officials are looking for a possible increase in fees to cover the costs of the program’s start. The Marijuana Control Board is considering raising licensing fees to help cover expenses for cannabis regulation as well as pay back the $4.5 million in General Fund monies the state used to start the program. “I think that we have to weigh cost and benefit,” said Marijuana Control Board member Brandon Emmett. “The cost to our growers who are struggling, there’s people going out of business, that adding this extra expense that they get no benefit from to potentially catch a bad actor or two is not prudent.”
Last week, the Department of Revenue and the Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office confirmed that malformed, seedy or immature bud will be taxed at $25 per ounce beginning in January.