By: Tyler Cowen | 08-14-2017 | News
Photo credit: Sigurdur William Brynjarsson | Dreamstime

Cannabis Tax in the Land of the Northern Lights

It’s been just a month since the last time Shia LaBeouf made the news for another public meltdown resulting in a highly publicized arrest. The Even Stevens and Transformer star has been on a slow but steady decline it seems, finding himself embroiled in public altercations.

For the most part when we hear about the end of marijuana prohibition one of the major boons revealed is the excess of tax funds available as a result. Now this doesn’t even take into account the amount of money that is not going to keep non-violent “felons” guilty of the improper use of plants up in the Graybar Inn. This doesn’t seem to be the case for Alaska however.

And what is the difference in Alaska? Regulation and maintenance of bureaucracy seems to be eating up any surplus tax money brought in by legalized medicinal marijuana in the frozen state.

Last year $1.75 million was generated via state excise tax related to legal marijuana sales. Sounds like a win until you realize that the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office in Alaska has a budget of circa $1.9 million earmarked towards marijuana regulation activities. The idea is that with steadily increasing monthly revenues, the regulatory board should be able to fund itself soon but until that moment it is at the mercy of subsidy.

Estimates that the agency should be self-sufficient by 2020 are heartwarming in the sense that it gives Alaska’s tax collectors something to look forward to at least. To be fair, a lot of the issues were chalked up to the initial set up involved in introducing an alien industry and all the red tape that goes along with laying the tracks of a new bureaucratic protocol.

That said, it always takes more time to lay the spikes and rails than it does to maintain the railroad and evidently things are already slightly easing up on the hard-working folks responsible for maintaining cannabis regulations in Alaska.

"It's going really well. Startup was a learning curve for everyone. I know the industry was frustrated with the process, but in our defense, we were learning right along with them," David Whitfield, current planning manager told the <a href=”<a href=> <i>Alaska Dispatch News</i>.</a>

In addition to excise tax, certain townships and communities have the right to approve additional taxes regarding marijuana sales. Anchorage, most populated city in Alaska, has raised over $370K between June and December. Fairbanks raised about half that in the duration, also levying a 5% sin tax for those who would toke upon the devil’s lettuce. Job creation is another boon expected from the initiation of legalized cannabis sales.

And who says those lousy potheads are good for nothing?

Image by <a href=> Alaska Dispatch News </a>

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