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Alaska Sets Sales Record, Still Lags Behind Projections

August 3, 2017
Summer tourism appears to be giving a big boost to Alaska’s newly legal cannabis market. As after starting out at a snail’s pace, adult-use sales are catching on with locals and tourists alike—and finally bringing in tax revenue for the state.

According to data from the state Department of Revenue’s tax division, June was a record-breaking month in Alaska, with sales of 547 lbs. of cannabis flower reported across the state. That generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue, with cultivators paying $512,000 in taxes.

In Alaska, growers—not retailers—remit taxes to the state, and in addition to the $50 per ounce tax on marijuana flower, they pay $15 per ounce of other plant parts purchased by manufacturers.

“It’s nice to see a new tax bringing in state revenue. That is exciting,” Kelly Mazzei, the state’s excise tax supervisor, told the Juneau Empire.


Public Consumption Gets Another Go in Alaska

Since the start of the 2017, Alaska has seen steady increases in the amount of flower—as well as trim and other cannabis products—moving through the market.

But while the state has set records month after month in terms of cannabis production and sales, the industry has fallen significantly behind its initial projections, which have already been reduced twice.


Alaska Rejects Plan to Allow On-Site Consumption at Cannabis Stores

From October—the first month of legal cannabis sales—through June, Alaska collected roughly $1.75 million in cannabis tax revenue—over a quarter of a million dollars less than the state’s projected.

Alaska officials currently estimate that during fiscal year 2018, the state will collect $10.6 million in taxes. To do so, reports to the Juneau Empire, the state would need to average about $883,000 per month in tax revenue.


Alaska AG Says Feds Couldn’t Overturn State’s Cannabis Law

The slow pace of the industry rollout is the result of several factors, but the sluggish rollout and implementation of regulations is one of the main reasons. As a consequence, sales started four months late.

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Gage Peake

Gage Peake is a former staff writer for Leafly, where he specialized in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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  • Che Bene’

    The Alaska legislature is one of the most corrupt in the USA, right up there with New Jersey and Louisiana. Many of the congress people are owned by the oil industry. The state teeters on the brink of bankruptcy but the legislature cannot bring itself to lower the extortionist give away of tax and licensing moneys to their masters. But they sure can have unlimited over time sessions (at $900/day/legislator) to dither about the question.

    Few of them have any idea what they are dealing with concerning cannabis, most of them being fat stupid republicrats. It took nearly two years after legalization before the first legal retail stores opened. The laws make no provision for medical weed dispensaries – grow your own only. I voted not to legalize recreational pot, preferring to decriminalize it in hopes we could keep the regulators away – yeah, pipe dream I know but things were going along pretty good with the situation as it had been since 1998 after the vote when it became quasi-legal – possession of up to 4 ounces was a misdemeanor. (Several of us had a bartender at a local roadhouse convinced it was legal and she was passing a couple joints around the bar – no probs.)

    An example of the lack of intelligence in the legislature: last year they refused to pass or even consider a bill to allocate money to study how to advance agriculture in Alaska. This in the face of a virtual tsunami of agricultural advances by Alaska farmers and the desperate need for Alaska to develop our own independent food supply. We are governed by fools.