Medical marijuana prescription bottle container with cannabis buds falling out. (Charlotte’s Web strain)

Alaska may be known as the “last frontier,” but the northernmost U.S. state is catching up with the growing cannabis industry trend. Alaska has gone through a process that saw local statutes switching from legalization then recriminalization then back within a span of several years. Finally, the state voted for legalization of adult recreational use in 2014 becoming the third U.S. state to do so. Colorado and Washington had successfully pushed for recreational cannabis use ahead of Alaska.

Alaska Cannabis Laws

Just like any state that has proceeded with legalization, the Alaska government had to update their statutes to accommodate the growing industry. Under Alaska marijuana laws, adults age 21 and over can possess and grow a maximum of six plants but with certain product restrictions. State laws also prohibit anyone to take cannabis and cannabis-related products out of the state.

Alaska state laws cover tax regulations for licensed retailers and producers. Current laws impose a tax rate per ounce of the product with the rate depending on the part of the plant that was processed for retail. Also, Alaska laws require cultivation facilities to file their tax reports on a monthly basis to local authorities. As part of compliance, business owners have to provide information such as the date for each retail transaction, customer information as well as product amount. The law also requires multiple filings for those with several facilities.

Challenge of Compliance

While the local government may have a lot of restrictions for businesses, many entrepreneurs are still investing in their own facilities and stores. Like in other states across the U.S., legalization has led to more business activities and sale revenues for the community. In Alaska, while revenues are not as skyrocketing as in other states, it has been steady and showing promise. Industry forecasts see the state earning nearly 24 million in local taxes by 2020.

State entrepreneurs who see the possibilities within the industry can utilize management tools to protect them from potential compliance issues. These tools are readily available on the market today. Many states are now implementing their own Metrc tracking system to keep businesses compliant. The tracking system is a critical component of each state’s regulatory requirements by monitoring cannabis plants and related products.

There are applications that are designed to keep businesses running smoothly. However, there are systems that are actually addressing the compliance side of operations. Some of these effective tools are attuned to state Metrc systems for full integration. For Alaska business owners, having a program that can be customized to address local statutory requirements is a big help. All transactions can be monitored and directly reported to the tax authorities.

Business owners in Alaska are now exploring the new entrepreneurial challenges of the cannabis industry. With new dispensaries and shops opening to cater to the needs of an expanding clientele, business owners also face emerging challenges related to monitoring compliance. This is where helpful apps and programs come in to take away the burden of balancing daily operational requirements and keeping the business within state restrictions.


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