Consequences of Getting a Medical Card in Alaska

Apply For Alaska Medical Marijuana Card Online

Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Card in Alaska

You can purchase cannabis products at lower prices and have access to them even as a minor if you have an Alaska medical marijuana card.

Legal Protection

An Alaska medical marijuana card protects the cardholder from being arrested or prosecuted for possessing up to 1 ounce of cannabis. Although the state does not require medical marijuana patients to always carry their medical marijuana cards, it is recommended that they do so to verify their qualification to use marijuana, especially if they are under the age of 21. The Alaska medical marijuana card also protects the cardholder from arrest for cultivating up to 6 marijuana plants, with no more than 3 of the plants being mature.

Lower Prices

Possessing an Alaska medical marijuana card allows you to purchase cannabis at lower prices than recreational cannabis users. Some stores offer discounts for MMJ patients, while retail taxes on recreational products in some cities inflate cannabis prices for recreational users. Although Alaska does not have a statewide retail tax on recreational cannabis bought at dispensaries, it allows municipalities to impose retail sales taxes on recreational cannabis products.

Access for Minors

With an Alaska medical cannabis card, the cardholder can possess and use marijuana, provided that the individual is at least 18 years old. If you do not have a medical marijuana card, you must be at least 21 to be able to possess or use cannabis legally in Alaska.


Having an Alaska medical marijuana card can also be beneficial in other states beyond Alaska. In some states offering medical marijuana reciprocity, out-of-state patients are allowed to purchase medical marijuana subject to certain rules. With an Alaska medical marijuana card, you may be able to buy medical cannabis in Oklahoma, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Maine.

Downsides of Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Alaska

You need to make a continued effort to maintain an Alaska medical marijuana card. Annual expenses to keep the card valid may reach up to $250 or more. You also lose your gun rights by possessing an Alaska medical marijuana card.

Firearm Prohibition

The prohibition on owning firearms is one of the significant downsides to possessing an Alaska medical marijuana card. The state sides with federal law by banning medical marijuana patients from owning guns and ammunition. According to the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, due to the classification of cannabis as a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, anyone using marijuana, even for medical purposes, is an unlawful marijuana user. Consequently, the GCA states that unlawful marijuana users may not be allowed to possess firearms. This means that even if you are using medical marijuana in accordance with state law, you may still be prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law.

Driving Restrictions

Alaska does not have a legal limit for marijuana impairment while driving. However, it is a crime to operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, and law enforcement officers may arrest you based on observed impairment behaviors while driving, even if you have a medical marijuana card. First-time offenders convicted of drugged driving face fines of up to $1,500, incarceration of no less than 72 consecutive hours, a 90-day driving license suspension, and a mandatory interlock device affixed to the ignition of their vehicle.

Also, if you are a medical marijuana user, you do not qualify to obtain a Commercial Driver's License per Alaska law. If you fail a drug trug as a commercial driver licensee, you risk losing your license and job.

Annual Renewal

One of the downsides of possessing an Alaska medical marijuana card is the time and financial commitments required to renew the card annually. To avoid interruptions in your ability to purchase medical marijuana, it is recommended that you renew your card before its expiration. Renewal applications submitted after a medical marijuana card has expired are considered new applications, and the applicants are required to pay the fee ($25) for first-time applicants.

The fee for a timely renewal of an Alaska medical marijuana card is $20. However, you will need to schedule an appointment with a qualified physician to obtain a recertification to verify your eligibility for continued participation in the Alaska medical marijuana program. Often, this type of consultation is conducted via telemedicine as the state allows medical cannabis recertification appointments to be done virtually. Note that consultation fees range between $100 and $250.

Employment Restrictions

Section 17.38.220 of the Alaska Statutes does not require employers to accommodate or permit the possession, consumption, use, or display of marijuana in workplaces. Employers are allowed to enforce policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees.

Per Section 23.10.655 of Alaska Statutes, an employer may take adverse employment actions based on a positive drug test indicating a violation of the employer's written policy. The employer may also take an adverse employment action if an employee or prospective employee refuses to provide a drug testing sample.

Possible adverse employment actions that employers may take include:

  • A requirement that the employee participate in an employer-approved rehabilitation, treatment, or counseling program
  • Suspension of the employee, with or without pay, for a designated period
  • Termination of employment
  • Refusal to hire a prospective employee
  • Other adverse employment action

Federal Prohibitions

While Alaska has legalized medical marijuana, it remains illegal at the federal level, leading to potential conflicts in various circumstances. One such conflict area is in medical marijuana patients in a jurisdiction where marijuana has been legalized, applying for federal employment.

Federal employment regulations generally adhere to federal law, which considers marijuana a Schedule I controlled substance. This means that federal employees, including those in Alaska, are subject to federal regulations prohibiting the use of marijuana, even for medicinal purposes. Therefore, obtaining a medical marijuana card in Alaska does not provide federal employees with the legal protection to use marijuana without risking consequences in their federal employment.

Similarly, individuals residing in federally subsidized housing in Alaska may encounter issues related to marijuana use. Federal regulations for subsidized housing are guided by federal law, and the use of marijuana, even for medical purposes, may conflict with these regulations. Hence, using marijuana in federally subsidized housing may lead to an arrest and prosecution of the offender.

Although Alaska medical marijuana cardholders have the right to cultivate limited amounts of marijuana for personal use under state law, doing so on federally subsidized housing governed under federal law is a federal offense. Alaska law prohibits marijuana use on all federal properties in the state.

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