January was Anchorage’s first full month collecting marijuana tax revenue, but the state’s pockets won’t be lined as much as had been hoped due to shortages in marijuana being grown and sold in Alaska’s major city. The premier Anchorage marijuana shop opened Dec. 15., and two more quickly followed. In December, $19,880 in sales tax came from those businesses alone, said Blyss Cruz, a manager in Anchorage’s Treasury Division. Blyss confirms there are now six stores in total but that did not mean that revenue climbed accordingly.
The first month of 2017 saw only a few growers producing legal weed to meet the demands of the dispensaries they were meant to stock. The shortage caused a few hiccups, and the four Anchorage marijuana shops generated $22,000 in sales tax revenue in January, a city official said. Shops across the state nervously faced supply shortages, and either closed temporarily or shortened their hours. Anchorage then imported cannabis from other areas around the state to meet the demand. January revenue dropped to just over $100,000.
A marijuana sales tax of 5 percent was approved by Anchorage voters in April 2016. The city tax is separate from the state excise tax of $50 per ounce of marijuana bud and $15 per ounce for other parts of the plant. The state excise tax is that which is paid by the grower pays to the state treasury. California is looking to enact a similar tax by the time they open adult-use shops in 2018, and the dropping wholesale marijuana prices in Colorado means they may jump on board too. Both state and local taxes in Anchorage, Alaska are paid at the end of the following month, so January taxes were due at the end of February.