Marijuana tax: Keeping up with the jonesing - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, October 26, 2021
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Marijuana tax: Keeping up with the jonesing

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On this April 20, Must Read Alaska checked in with the Department of Revenue to see how tax collections are coming on the cannabis industry. The most recent report available for 2019 goes through the end of February.

The State has reported collecting $12,308,997 in taxes so far this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

That’s running about 10 percent more than in 2018 during the same period.

Between January and February, 196,635 ounces of buds and flowers were sold in Alaska, taxed at $50 an ounce. Over 10,000 ounces of immature, seedy, or failed plants were sold, taxed at $25 an ounce, and the rest was in the “trim or rest of plant category — 153,246 ounces were sold and taxed at $15 an ounce.

The total tax collected on cannabis for January and February was more than $1.5 million. That money is arriving at the state in the form of cash in money bags, dropped through a slot.

Because banking laws have not aligned with state marijuana laws, the Tax Division accepts cash payments in Anchorage located at the same place where people go to apply in person for their Permanent Fund dividends.

Cash for taxes require specific instructions for marijuana dealers. Here are the Tax Division’s instructions:

  1. All cash payments must be in a division-approved deposit bag. If making a payment in person, the cash must be enclosed in the bag before entering our lobby. The bag must be no larger than 11” x 13” and must be a tamper-resistant, bank deposit type bag. Do not overstuff the bag – it must fit in the drop box slot. Use more than one bag if your payment does not fit in one. Please contact the Tax Division if you have any questions or need a sample.
  2. Print a payment voucher from Revenue Online. Please verify that your voucher type and filing period are correct. Failure to do so could result in delays in processing your payment. If you are unsure which voucher type to use, please contact the Tax Division.
  3. Write your name and tax account ID (from the voucher) on each deposit bag.
  4. Include a copy of the voucher in each deposit bag.
  5. Cash should be sorted by denomination and all bills should face the same direction. The Tax Division will not accept any mutilated or contaminated currency.
  6. Bring your payment to the drop box located next to the Child Support and Permanent Fund Dividend offices in the Linny Pacillo Parking Garage, 655 F St, Anchorage, AK 99501. The lobby is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. You must have a key to access the drop box. You can get a key from the Tax Division’s Anchorage office (Fifth Floor of Atwood Building) or have one mailed to you.
  7. If you are depositing more than 10 bags in a single month, please contact the Tax Division at 907.269.6620 for other instructions.


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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • I’m not a member of the toking world or their method of banking, so someone please let me know how come this “box” hasn’t been heisted? I recently read an article about a Key Bank teller in Alaska ripping off $4.3 million, rather easily I might add.
    And, remind me again what the State says this pot money is used for?

  • Puff, puff, puffin’ along. Think how much money would have been made by illegal dealers if (puff, puff) pot was still illegal. Even if you don’t like it, lots of Alaskans are not criminals now, thanks to the new, legal, “cash for stash”, laws passed. The state can really use the “extra income” now. Does that make the state “dealer accomplices”?? Just think how many new public union employees that takes care of with all the extra money. Probably, at least a half dozen or so. (little sarcasm there)

  • That is a goodly amount of money. So, how has this influx of cash been spent? ‘Cause I don’t see anyone talking about how the budget has improved because of it.

  • A quick overview for those who don’t have experience with Alaska’s budget. Reference: Alaska Revenue Source Book, Department of Revenue. This public document includes the revenue predictions to create Alaska’s budget.
    Looking on page 6, you will find the 2018 actual receipts (history). and a 2019 and 2020 predicted estimate for revenue. Please note the 2018 actual receipts are obviously smaller than the numbers used in the article, because they don’t include 2019. Yes, the numbers appear even higher than forecast. But lets get real, it is not a lot of money, given how much Alaska spends.
    2018 Revenue by Source:
    Petroleum = $1,940.2 million
    Excise taxes = 70.4 million, (including: Alcohol 19.6 m, Tobacco 37.4 m, Marijuana 5.4 m, plus other)
    Mining = $46.9 million
    Fishing = $24.7 million
    It will be interesting to see if marijuana, unlike commercial fishing, costs less than it brings in in tax revenue. (Fishermen are famous for paying far less in taxes than they cost to the State in terms of regulators and researchers who prevent them from killing off their product, and various subsidies. E.g.: We probably won’t see a State program like the fishing IFQ subsidies, nor marketing grants for marijuana, fortunately!)
    If you haven’t much experience with the Revenue Source Book, it is not only a forward look into the anticipated revenues to the State of Alaska, but also the definitive source for past revenues.

  • Marijuana…………..making people lazy and dumb! That’s gotta be good for the economy.

    • Sorry but the people I know that smoke pot are hard-working individuals of various professions who own homes, pay taxes, donate to charities, and make positive contributions to our society. Your take on pot smokers is old fashioned and misinformed.

  • Bruce Campbell raises an excellent point about how pot tax doesn’t generate very much income. The constant harping of how much taxes are brought in by pot sales in Alaska in the main stream media are an unwitting celebration of an activity that is not particularly bad or necessarily good. But as a way to pay for government services, pot is not going anywhere fast. Campbell didn’t note the taxes paid by cruise passengers to Alaska which is more than the taxes derived from fishing each year. Add in the apportioned income tax on cruise lines and the tax levied on gambling operations conducted in Alaska waters and the Department of Revenue for Alaska takes in a fair chunk of change. Most of this money is used for infrastructure and other mitigating measures required to host over one million passengers each year in a compressed season.

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