For the second month in a row, revenue to the State from marijuana sales has slid.
Cannabis tax dropped 18 percent between October and December, according to the Department of Revenue.
December sales of raw cannabis brought in $784,176 in taxes, compared with $872,197 in November and $953,591 in October. September brought in $723,757 in to State coffers. January sales have not been reported yet.
Bruce Schulte, the former board chairman of the Marijuana Control Board, views this change as a maturing of the market. When commercialization began, he said, consumers were buying more buds, which are taxed at $50 per ounce at the cultivar level. The trim — leaves and stems — is taxed at $15 an ounce and is used in manufactured edibles.
Schulte said the consumer demand may be shifting toward those manufactured products as they become more available. The manufacturing of consumables is still in its infancy in Alaska.
October was the end of the first year of legal commercialized marijuana sales after voters approved legalizing commercialized marijuana in November of 2014.
In October, growers sold 1,004 pounds of bud and 626 pounds of trim, but in December those numbers were down to 824 pounds of bud and 519 pounds of trim.
In 2016, the Revenue Department predicted the State would receive $6 million in 2017 and $12 million in 2018 from marijuana sales.
In fiscal years 2017 and the first part of fiscal year 2018, the state has collected a combined $6.3 million in taxes. At the same time, the number of taxpaying growers has increased from 44 to 82 from 2017 to 2018.
Fairbanks remains the heartbeat of the pot cultivar industry in Alaska, with 15 taxpaying entities. Anchorage has 12.