Although Alaska voted to legalize recreational cannabis back in 2014, the past few months have arguably been the most defining for the state’s market. Pot sales continue to skyrocket throughout the largest U.S. state, while recently held elections have reflected local support for the budding industry.
According to new figures from the Alaska Department of Revenue, the state collected $694,364 in tax revenue from marijuana in August. This broke the state’s wholesale cannabis sales record for the sixth consecutive month, suggesting that the plant is growing increasingly popular across The Last Frontier. Despite the fact that Alaska has the most expensive legal green in the country, statistics show that 734 pounds of bud was sold by cultivators to retail stores over that month period, along with 44 pounds of other plant parts.
Beyond these record-setting sales, Alaska’s recreational cannabis system has seen major victories on the legislative front as well. Earlier this week, the Fairbanks region showed overwhelming support for commercial pot, thwarting a proposed business ban with 70 percent voting in favor of the industry. The Kenai Peninsula Borough also reaffirmed its support of the local commercial marijuana companies, voting to keep them open by a similarly wide margin.
If passed, retail stores and cultivation facilities would have been forced to close within 90 days. Currently, there are 56 marijuana farms that paid taxes in Alaska last month, an increase of ten compared to July. Of those grow operations, 14 of them are located in Fairbanks, while Kenai hosts a dozen. Both the ever-increasing tax revenue and strong election turnout showcases the strength and success of Alaska’s legal cannabis market.
“I’m happy to know that the 100 plus employees that are employed right now are going to keep their jobs, and there’s going to be many more jobs on top of that. And all these families down here, they’re not going to lose their savings and their livelihoods,” said Amy Jackman, campaign manager for "Keep Cannabis Legal" on the Kenai Peninsula.
According to Kelly Mazzei, the excise tax director for the Alaska Department of Revenue, the state is expecting over $700,000 in taxes from marijuana sales in September, which would set a new record for the seventh month in a row. With fall being the harvesting season for Alaska’s outdoor farms, this collected revenue could rise even higher after these cannabis crops are cured and packaged for sale. Needless to say, the far northwestern state is raking in some serious cash from recreational pot, and the recently held elections prove that Alaskans are in full support of the emerging industry.