Alaska Collects $11M in Pot Tax Revenue, Beating Projections

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska collected more than $11 million in marijuana tax revenue during the state's 2018 fiscal year, exceeding projections by nearly $2 million.

    The Alaska Department of Revenue released numbers Wednesday for the fiscal year that ended in June, indicating a continued rise in revenue collection, KTUU-TV reported . The state collected about $1.7 million during the previous fiscal year.

    "We absolutely are exceeding our predictions and additionally we are seeing a very steady increase in tax revenue collection each month," said Kelly Mazzei, the department's excise tax supervisor.

    The state collected the most revenue from marijuana taxes in June at more than $1.2 million. The department expects July to break that record, setting a possible trend for the 2019 fiscal year.

    "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," Mazzei said. "So we could continue to collect an unknown amount of money in taxes."

    Half of the revenue from marijuana taxes is directed into the Recidivism Reduction Fund, which supports programs aimed at reducing relapses into criminal behavior, including the state Department of Corrections' substance abuse treatment programs and community residential centers.

    Under current regulations, marijuana buds and flowers are taxed at $50 per ounce. The rest of the plant is taxed at $15 per ounce. The revenue department has proposed creating a third category, taxing immature or abnormal buds at $25 per ounce.

    "We understand now with feedback that there is some lower quality bud, maybe some that's failed a test result for mold," Mazzei said. "So it could go to a product manufacturer, but it won't go to a retail store. So therefore we don't believe cultivators should be paying $50 an ounce if they're not getting that price at market."

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