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North Pole decides to tax marijuana

North Pole officials have decided to tax pot.

No, not that North Pole, although that would explain why Santa eats so many cookies in a single night.

Santa-Claus-House-North-Pole-Alaska-Nicole-BizinskiSanta Claus House in North Pole, Alaska. (Photo by Nicole Bizinski/Santa Claus House)

We're talking North Pole, Alaska, a community of around 2,200 just southeast of Fairbanks.

The treasury of the town with the official motto "where the spirit of Christmas lives year 'round" got an early gift on Feb. 1 when city council members decided to tax both wholesale and retail marijuana transactions.

The 6 percent sales tax will apply to pot just as it already does less potent tobacco. Cannabis cultivated within the city limits, however, won’t be subject to the wholesale tax.

North Pole's lawmakers also approved an annual fee of $1,000 on cannabis retail stores. Other types of pot businesses will pay $500 a year.

"This is a good, positive step forward, in my opinion, for the city of North Pole with respect to taxation," councilman Santa Claus (no kidding!) told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner newspaper.

Third state to take in pot taxes: Alaska is the third U.S. state to tax marijuana, following voter approval in November 2014 of recreational use of small amounts of pot. The other two are Colorado and Washington.

The state collects an excise tax of $50 per ounce of marijuana sold at the wholesale level. The Alaska Department of Revenue has the power to set a lower rate on certain parts of the marijuana plant.

There is no statewide sales tax in the Last Frontier. However, localities have the option of applying local sales taxes up the 7.5 percent on commercial pot exchanges.

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