Borough marijuana tax revenue expected to top $100k in third quarter

Cannabis products at the opening of the High Expedition in Talkeetna on May 12th, 2017. Photo by Phillip Manning – KTNA

Mat-Su Borough officials have released numbers regarding how much revenue has come in thus far from its marijuana sales tax, and have ideas for what the borough may need to consider in the future regarding commercial cannabis.

At a joint meeting of the Mat-Su Borough Assembly and Planning Commission, Development Services Manager Alex Strawn told the assembly that slightly less than $60,000 was raised through the borough’s five-percent marijuana sales tax in the first two quarters of 2017. Third quarter taxes are due on Tuesday, so the data is currently incomplete, but Strawn anticipates a significant jump.

“We’re looking at—once those come in—probably somewhere over $100,000 [to] $120,000…The amount of taxes being generated is increasing pretty steadily, and we’ll evaluate it over time and see where that goes.”

In addition, Alex Strawn says three additional retail facilities have been approved, but have not yet opened their doors.

Strawn also outlined regulatory issues for marijuana he believes the borough might need to look at. He says the borough’s definition of schools could use some refining.

“It doesn’t specify public schools, and there is a big question of what is a school. Is a gymnastics facility where they hold gymnastics training a school? Dance studios? Things like that.”

The definition is important, since the borough requires commercial marijuana facilities to be twice as far from school grounds as state regulations require.

The state legislature has a bill before it treating industrial hemp as a separate issue from marijuana. In addition, the state’s Marijuana Control Board is considering rules for on-site consumption of marijuana at retail facilities. Alex Strawn says if those pass, then the borough will have to decide how it wants to handle the issues.

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