Cannabis businesses in Alaska could soon pay more to operate
In an effort to cover the costs to regulate the cannabis industry in the state, regulators in Alaska are considering an increase in licensing fees. Two proposals are now being discussed, either of which would result in a substantial jump in how much businesses pay to be in the cannabis space. The final decision will be made after a public notice and comment period gathers opinions.
One proposal would increase the $500 fee to $1,500 and the $5,000 fee to $7,000. The other recommends an increase in the $500 fee to $1,000 and the $5,000 fee to $6,000. The proposed hikes were introduced by the director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office (AMCO), Erika McConnell, during the board’s meeting on October 17.
McConnell suggested that only the renewal fee may be increased, as the new license fee is already high. She further stated that she hopes more staff will be added to shorten the turnaround time in the licensing process. Currently, some applicants have to wait as long as five months to receive word on their applications.
The hikes, according to McConnell, are necessary because Alaska’s legislature is looking to recuperate the $4.5 million it invested in initially launching the state’s marijuana program. McConnell estimates that, based on current prices, the AMCO will take in around $1.7 million in revenue between licenses and handling card fees. She adds that the estimate could be split across years, however, because some applicants submit renewal applications and fees after the June 30 deadline.