Alaska Trends


drug notorious for making its users lazy and idle has been busy, busy, busy building a new industry in Alaska. In less than a decade since voters legalized recreational use of marijuana, cannabis has grown into the state’s most valuable cash crop. Per capita, Alaska has the most retail shops of any state where the drug is legal. Pretty impressive for a market that was entirely the domain of illicit dealers before 2016.

Alaska’s libertarian streak gets the credit for passing the legalization initiative in a politically conservative electorate, and that same tendency could also explain the proliferation of marijuana businesses. Cutting red tape and streamlining government regulation works for other industries, so cannabis benefits from the same light touch.

Which is not to say that cannabis isn’t strictly regulated. This month’s article “Cannabis Cool” explains how the air quality regulations alone require the support of HVAC engineers and installers, extending the ripples of the blazing industry to other economic sectors. Anyone willing to play by the rules—and navigate the financial complications of dealing in a federally banned substance—can claim a share of the marijuana profits.

This edition of Alaska Trends is a snapshot of marijuana today. How might that compare in a few years, after the industry has matured?

SOURCES: Alaska Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office:
Alaska Department of Revenue:
Ounces of Marijuana Taxed over time by product
bar graph comparing results in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
clipart of pot leaf being converted to money then being distributed to local governments
$91,900 of revenue
was collected by the State of Alaska for distribution to 26 local governments in FY2022
257 Approved PRODUCTS
are registered with Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office for retail sales.
rectangle with different color shapes inside
clipart of pot leaf
Wholesale Prices
are based on the THC percentage present in indoor testing.

Wholesale Price of Cannabis Flower per pound

Source: MJBizDaily, updated December 17, 2021
6 License Types
Types of licensees
pie chart
bar graph comparing results in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
State Tax Revenue & Penalties Over Time
state Tax rates
are paid by the marijuana cultivation facility in cash.
clipart of bud trimming process
Map of Alaska labeling cities with Active-Operating Licenses
41 Cities
with Active-Operating Licenses
Payers of license fees per location