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Alaska Official Floats Idea of Taxing Pot Based on THC

Should Alaska tax legal cannabis sales based on the THC content?

An Alaska official came up with an idea on how to tax the sale of legal cannabis: base it on the weed’s THC content.

Erika McConnell, director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office, said she’d heard about the concept at a conference and wondered what her colleagues thought.

Some liked the idea, others didn’t.

Brandon Emmett, who works in the cannabis industry, said anything was better than the current tax structure, which is cumbersome and taxes are high.

Loren Jones, who sits on the Control Office’s public health seat, said the idea bothered him, reported AP.

Meanwhile, industry representatives are seeking changes to the existing tax, which is $50 an ounce for any part of the cannabis plant’s bud and flower and $15 an ounce for the rest of the plant.

Growers pay the tax, which is imposed when cannabis is sold or transferred from a grow facility to a retail shop or manufacturing facility.

But, cultivators say the tax is squeezing their profit margins and keeping prices artificially high.

Emmett, who was part of the legalization campaign, said the tax is not working.

“We need something that works for the people and for the state,” he said.

Board chairman of the Marijuana Control Office, Mark Springer, said he would prefer leaving tax policy issues to the state Department of Revenue, although it has limited authority over cannabis revenue.

But, someone is counting the money. According to the Seattle Times, the state collected nearly $1.1 million in marijuana tax revenue in March, a new monthly high. Alaska has collected more than $7.5 million during the fiscal year that started July 1.

State law calls for half of the tax revenue to go toward programs aimed at reducing repeat criminal offenders.

Alaskans voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2014 and sales began in late 2016.

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