The first six months of the 2018 fiscal year in Alaska have generated $4.5 million in marijuana tax collections. October collections alone were nearly $1 million. The state’s first fiscal year, beginning in October 2016, generated just $1.7 million in tax revenue.
The current tax rates are $15 per ounce of trim and $50 per ounce of dry flower, according to The Northern Light. In the beginning of tax collections, only four marijuana companies were making payments. At the end of fiscal year 2017, 44 companies were making payments. This fiscal year, that number is almost double.
Brandon Spanos of the Alaska Department of Revenue said, “We actually projected a larger number for the first year and it was based on the available data, which there wasn’t very much. But we did report, I think, about [$] 12 million in the first year.”
Josh Morris of Cannabaska said, “There’s definitely a high demand for getting [in the business]. I think it’s definitely pretty competitive.”
Morris also said, “There’s someone that comes in asking about work, asking about how to get a job, asking about how to get into the business, stocks…’How do I go about opening a retail establishment?’ There’s all different types of questions people come in asking.”
Some retailers are choosing to grow their own product while others continue to negotiate with existing cultivators. The goal is to help reduce the cost for consumers.
The Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office has more than 50 applications for a variety of marijuana business licenses pending review. The applications range from cultivators to retailers and manufacturers. Each business type also varies in scale (size).
Spanos said, “They could be any size. So, just because there’s a hundred new licenses, doesn’t mean we would see, potentially, even doubling the volume if they were all really small cultivators.”
Tax collections for January are due by the end of February. Those payments could help the state reach the $1 million mark for a single month of sales.
Photo: Mariah DeJesus-Remaklus/The Northern Light