State, muni see reduced marijuana tax revenue
For the first time in months, the State of Alaska has seen a drop in the amount of marijuana taxes it's owed.
Kelly Mazzei with the Alaska Department of Revenue said marijuana cultivators owed the state $1,439,000 in November, the latest month for which figures are available, compared to $1,841,000 in October and $1,481,000 in September.
Revenue officials aren't sure how to account for the drop, although Mazzei said seven cultivators have gone out of business from October to November. She added that the state saw seen a similar drop in tax revenue in the fall of 2016 and 2017.
"It could just be something that we are going to see every single year," Mazzei said. "But in general, the line is definitely trending upward so we are still climbing. We are still seeing more revenue than we saw last year, and of course the year before."
The state collected its first tax revenue from marijuana cultivators in October 2017. Since then, it's collected more than $20 million. Mazzei said, it's likely the state will meet or exceed its expectation of collecting $22 million by the time year-end figures are in.
For Anchorage officials, however, it's a different story. Office of Economic Development Director Chris Schutte said the muni won't meet its projected revenue goal for local marijuana taxes.
The city taxes retail stores for the marijuana they sell. Schutte said the latest revenue report from the end of November projected marijuana tax revenue of $3.3 million for all of 2018, about $200,000 less than the city had expected for the year.
Schutte said the city is still collecting taxes owed for October and November, and is also anticipating that retail sales will be higher in December. Those sales may bring the year-end numbers back up.
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