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Wholesale marijuana taxes frustrate Alaska growers

Taxes on wholesale marijuana are frustrating Alaska cannabis growers.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports some Alaska growers are calling for a reform, as the cannabis supply in the state increases and wholesale prices decline.

The drop in wholesale prices is good for consumers because the retail price of marijuana also is dropping. But some retailers say prices in general have gone from $20 or more per gram to about $18 per gram.

The tax on marijuana sold to retailers by the growers remains $50 per ounce. That's $800 per pound for marijuana bud and $260 per pound for the rest of the plant.


Marijuana tax collections increasing in Alaska

The state of Alaska collected $726,000 in marijuana taxes for the month of September.

Kelly Mazzei, excise tax supervisor for the state's tax division, said that number is greater than August numbers and considerably higher than in July.

"We're really climbing steadily in this fiscal year," Mazzei said. "One way of looking at it is all of last fiscal year we collected $1.7 million. And in three months, we're already close to $2 million in collections – just three months into the fiscal year."


Cannabis prices higher in Alaska

While residents who voted for the legalization of marijuana in Alaska were victorious in the polls, the price of buying legal cannabis has proved to be a turnoff for some consumers.

“I think dispensaries are utilizing their monopoly on legal weed,” said Hannah Seaman, a 24-year-old electrical engineer major, who voted for the legalization. “It is more economical to buy it from people who aren’t organized by the government.”


Alaska marijuana sales break records for sixth straight month

State expects another record high to come when September figures arrive

On the same day that voters in Kenai and Fairbanks enthusiastically cast votes supporting Alaska’s legal marijuana industry, the Alaska Department of Revenue reported new record-high sales.


The Latest: Alaska voters reject local bans on legalized pot

This December 2016 photo shows cannabis plants growing in a cultivation space inside Croy's Enterprises near Soldotna, Alaska. Voters in parts of Alaska will decide in local elections on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, whether to ban commercial cannabis operations, including retail stores and cultivation facilities.

The Latest on votes in parts of Alaska to ban legalized marijuana operations (all times local):

10:05 p.m.

Voters in some parts of Alaska rejected attempts Tuesday to ban marijuana businesses.

Citizen initiatives were handily losing in and around the city of Fairbanks and in rural areas of the Kenai (KEE'-ny) Peninsula southwest of Anchorage.

Had the measures been approved, marijuana growers and retail stores would have had to close their shops.


Marijuana taxes for July bring in $577,000

According to the state Department of Revenue, the marijuana cultivation industry in Alaska is continuing to grow.

Recently released tax receipts from the month of July show cultivation businesses paid $577,000 in state taxes - the highest total of any month so far.

Fairbanks still has the most pot growing businesses of any municipality in the state, with 12 of Alaska's 46 cultivating operations based in the greater Fairbanks area.

In total, marijuana businesses paid taxes on 612 pounds of marijuana buds and flowers, and 369 pounds of trimmed plant material in July.

Since marijuana was legalized, cultivators have paid a total of about $2.3 million dollars in taxes.


With more cultivators coming online, Alaska's marijuana industry hits new tax highs

Marijuana tax revenues continue to break state records, with projections for the month of July expected to yield the most money from cannabis cultivators to date.

According to the Alaska Department of Revenue, the state anticipates collecting around $571,000 for July, bringing the tax total since legalization to more than $2.3 million.

Six new cultivators came online in July, a gradual trend that’s driving a growing tax base.

“The process is taking a lot longer [than expected,]” said cultivation director for The Frost Frontier Evan Schlosberg, whose cannabis grow operation is one of the many in the industry that’s been working months behind the scenes just to get to the starting line.


Harvest season includes first full cannabis crop in Alaska

It's high time to pick that pot

September is harvest season in Alaska and the fields are getting a haircut, while farmers’ markets in Southcentral are teeming with carrots and kale, potatoes and leeks, and a variety of other vegetables such as mizuna, snow apples, and daikon radish.

But for the first time, there’s a big new crop: Cannabis. Its harvest is well under way. By Sept. 21, the air is just too cold in most parts of Alaska — and the ground too — to do the plants any good. The end of the season for sativa plants has arrived.

With as many as 50 licensed commercial cannabis growers around the state working the short-but-intense Alaska growing season, the fall of 2017 will be the first year when a flush of legally grown Alaska marijuana is harvested.


A trim from Big Leaf

John Banister had a crew of workers packaging cannabis at a marijuana manufacturing business. Another crew was helping with a harvest at a cultivator’s site. Banister also had workers trimming and making joints at another cannabis facility.

It was a typical Thursday for Big Leaf, a 6-month-old company that provides skilled labor and consulting to marijuana growers and manufacturers preparing to get their product to market.

“The one thing we do best is trimming weed,” Banister said. “Trimming weed is the foundation of the company.”

The business started as a side gig for Banister, a carpenter with nine years of experience working in the marijuana industries in Colorado and California.


States forge path through uncharted territory to legal pot

Legal weed has unleashed an entrepreneurial spirit across the USA and holds the potential to reshape communities, but voter-approved relaxation of drug laws may bring consequences we don't yet understand as we soften the war on drugs.

A USA TODAY Network investigation into marijuana legalization reveals increases in marijuana-related car crashes and in hospitalization of kids who steal their parents' pot, of black-market smuggling rings and the challenges of running cash-based businesses that can’t use traditional banks because of federal regulations.


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