AK: Marijuana Board May Examine Pot Taxes

Photo Credit: Becky Bohrer

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board may ask the Alaska Legislature to reconsider the state’s marijuana tax. In a decision Thursday, the five-person board asked the Alaska Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office to draft a resolution for submission to the Legislature.

The board is expected to vote in April on the text of that resolution and whether it should be submitted to the Legislature. It is not yet clear what changes the board will suggest.

The current tax is $50 per ounce for bud or flower, and $15 per ounce for other plant parts.

While the MCB, a quasi-judicial group, makes most regulatory decisions for Alaska’s commercial marijuana industry, taxes were imposed by the 2014 ballot measure that legalized marijuana here. That means the board cannot adjust the marijuana tax on its own; legislative action is required to change marijuana taxes.

Members of the marijuana industry have asked the board to open the topic, as increased competition has lowered marijuana prices across Alaska. That has meant that taxes have become an increasingly large proportion of the cost paid by the consumer.

In public testimony and in letters to the board, marijuana growers and retailers have suggested in particular that the $15 per ounce tax on other plant parts (which contain less of the principal psychoactive chemical, THC) may be too high.

The board next meets in April in Nome.