Last Dance

Sitka Fine Arts Camp elementary age campers dance with instructor Brendan Jones in their final day of camp today at the Sheldon Jackson College Campus. Middle School Camp, for grades seven thru nine, begins Monday. Registration is still open at 907-747-3085. (Sentinel Photo by Klas Stolpe)

Simply Three Return to Perform at Harrigan
14 Jun 2024 14:46

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    The Simply Three trio promises an evening of original [ ... ]

Two Sitka Projects on Fed Funding List
14 Jun 2024 14:17

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    The Assembly received a piece of good news Tuesday wi [ ... ]

Peltola Bill Gives Coast Guard Boost
14 Jun 2024 13:58

By Sentinel Staff
    The U.S. House of Representatives gave unanimous approval today to a bill sp [ ... ]

Local Trails Repaired By Citizen Volunteers
14 Jun 2024 13:04

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Staff Writer
    Volunteers turned out in force June 1 to repair damage [ ... ]

No Sign Yet Of Missing Woman
14 Jun 2024 13:03

By Sentinel Staff
    The search for a woman reported missing near Ketchikan is focused on Ward La [ ... ]

High School Sues For Lower Sports Division
14 Jun 2024 13:01

By JAMES BROOKS
Alaska Beacon
    This March, the Monroe Catholic Rams were among the four best lar [ ... ]

Dunleavy Names New Fishery Panel Member
14 Jun 2024 12:59

By NATHANIEL HERZ
Northern Journal
    In May, the Alaska Legislature narrowly rejected a conservat [ ... ]

2 Accused of Smuggling Snowmachines to Russia
14 Jun 2024 12:55

By JAMES BROOKS
Alaska Beacon
    Federal officials have indicted two men for allegedly attempting  [ ... ]

June 14, 2024, Police Blotter
14 Jun 2024 12:48

Police Blotter
Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:
June 13
At 1:33 a.m. a woman  [ ... ]

June 14, 2024, Community Happenings
14 Jun 2024 12:47

Climate Connection: Electric Panels
Electrifying our lives prompts questions about whether our home e [ ... ]

No On-Site Attorney Poses City Problems
13 Jun 2024 15:09

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    After extensive recruiting efforts and no prospects i [ ... ]

Oil Spill Traced to Forgotten Boat Sinking
13 Jun 2024 15:08

By GARLAND KENNEDY
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    An oil slick that appeared on the surface of the water [ ... ]

Arts Camp Veteran to Play Concert
13 Jun 2024 15:07

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
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    Thirteen years ago Raph Shapiro spent the summer in S [ ... ]

Royalty-Free Leases Fail to Entice Bidders
13 Jun 2024 14:41

By YERETH ROSEN
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    A state oil and gas auction that offered royalty-free leases in t [ ... ]

June 13, 2024, Police Blotter
13 Jun 2024 14:39

Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:
June 12
An incident of drunkenness was repo [ ... ]

June 13, 2024, Community Happenings
13 Jun 2024 14:37

Soil Core May
Offer Portal to
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A soil core sample will be taken from Swan Lake Saturday [ ... ]

Assembly Postpones Visit Sitka Funding
12 Jun 2024 15:32

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    Assembly members discussed possible future paths for  [ ... ]

Sitka Breaks Decades-Old High Temp Record
12 Jun 2024 15:26

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Staff Writer
    A decades-old record for Sitka’s highest temperature [ ... ]

Woman Missing In Ketchikan
12 Jun 2024 15:25

By Sentinel Staff
    A search was under way today for a 48-year-old Ketchikan woman reported miss [ ... ]

State Supreme Court Posts a Job Opening
12 Jun 2024 15:24

By JAMES BROOKS
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    A wave of retirements on the Alaska Supreme Court is nearing its  [ ... ]

Ranked Choice Repeal Measure Wins Ruling
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    An Anchorage Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of a propose [ ... ]

Fairbanks Woman Accused Of Theft from Bingo Parlor
12 Jun 2024 15:16

By JAMES BROOKS
Alaska Beacon
    Federal prosecutors have accused a Fairbanks woman of stealing fr [ ... ]

June 12, 2024, Community Happenings
12 Jun 2024 15:14

Elder Coffee Time
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Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s community elders coffee time is on summer  [ ... ]

June 12, 2024, Police Blotter
12 Jun 2024 11:40

Police Blotter
Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:
June 11
At 3:25 a.m. a driver [ ... ]

Other Articles

Daily Sitka Sentinel

Legislators Hear Plea From Pot Businesses

By JAMES BROOKS

Alaska Beacon

In an unusual offseason hearing, a committee of the Alaska Legislature considered a proposal on Friday that could lower the state tax on marijuana sold in the state.

House Bill 119, considered Friday by the House Labor and Commerce Committee, would shift the state’s marijuana tax system from a tax per ounce to a sales tax.

The state’s marijuana industry says the change is desperately needed to help marijuana businesses compete with the state’s black market.

“This is a very desperate situation that we’re in,” said Lacy Wilcox, legislative liaison for the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, a trade group.

Since the state legalized the recreational sale of marijuana in 2014, it’s been taxed at $50 per ounce, a figure established by the ballot measure that made Alaska the third state to legalize marijuana use recreationally.

Other states have since legalized recreational sales, but at lower tax rates. When local taxes are added to the mix, Alaska taxes marijuana more heavily than any other state, the Tax Policy Center of the Brookings Institution concluded in 2022.

That’s created a financial windfall for the state: In fiscal year 2021, the state collected more than $30 million in marijuana tax revenue.

But industry experts say not all is green with the state’s marijuana industry. In fiscal year 2022, tax revenue fell to less than $29 million, the first time since legalization that marijuana tax revenue fell on a year-over-year basis.

Preliminary figures suggest that tax revenue rebounded slightly in the just-completed fiscal year 2023, but in the fiscal year that began July 1, projections indicate that it will be sharply down, legislative aide Cody Rice told the committee on Friday.

Dozens of marijuana businesses are expected to close this year, the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association has said, and many are delinquent on their taxes.

“We are all in survival mode, and we are coming together to share our pain with you,” Wilcox told the committee.

Last year, Gov. Mike Dunleavy convened a recreational marijuana task force to analyze the new industry’s progress, and that group delivered a report earlier this year that contained a variety of recommendations. One was a new tax system.

Brandon Emmett, a member of the marijuana industry, sat on the task force.

“I can tell you with a high degree of certainty that (marijuana) is still much cheaper on the black market. Alaska’s taxes and the burden on businesses from the Marijuana Control Board is causing prices to stay high and businesses to be uncompetitive,” he told the committee.

Emmett said that based on anecdotal evidence, he believes “40-50%” of the marijuana sold in Alaska is sold on the black market because the unregulated market offers better prices.

HB 119 was written to address industry concerns. As originally drafted, it would have changed the $50 per-ounce tax, collected by cultivators, to a 3% sales tax collected by retailers.

The bill was subsequently amended to a 10% sales tax, and industry officials said on Friday that the change is effectively a sidestep and wouldn’t address their concerns.

Rice, analyzing the effects of the tax change for the Labor and Commerce Committee, said that lower taxes could eventually result in greater state tax revenue as the legal market grows.

But that comes with a drawback: revenue would fall in the short term, and state anti-drug programs that rely on marijuana tax revenue would have to reduce or suspend their operations, state officials said.

If tax revenue rebounds, that suspension could be temporary. 

The committee took no immediate action Friday, but the committee chair, Rep. Jesse Sumner, R-Wasilla, said that committee members may consider amendments to the bill at a meeting in October or November.

–– https://alaskabeacon.com/james-brooks

 

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20 YEARS AGO

June 2004 

Advertisement: Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Caring Employee of the month! Franklin Thomas Hospital Nutrition Services.

50 YEARS AGO

June 1974

Edna Revard is enjoying a much-deserved vacation: she and youngest son Joe are in Italy visiting her older son, Jack, his wife and child. Jack is with the military, stationed in Italy. Edna will be gone a month, the crew at Revard’s Restaurant says.

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