**Can You Smoke Weed in Public in Alaska? **
Yes, medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are both legal in Alaska. The Marijuana Statutes and Regulations of Alaska allow adults aged 21 years and above to grow, possess or purchase marijuana for recreational purposes in limited quantities. Physicians are also allowed to approve marijuana or marijuana products to treat different conditions that their patients may be diagnosed with. Adults aged 21 and over in Alaska are allowed to:
For the medical uses of marijuana, patients with qualifying medical conditions can apply for medical marijuana cards through the Alaska Medical Marijuana Registry. The qualifying conditions in Alaska are HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, severe pain, seizures, severe nausea, cachexia/wasting syndrome, persistent muscle spasms, and multiple sclerosis. Patients having MMJ cards, or their caregivers, regardless of their ages, are allowed to:
The state legalized medical marijuana by the passage of the Alaska Medical Marijuana Act on November 3, 1998. The Act is also known as Measure 8. It was passed into law as an indirectly initiated state statute. Recreational marijuana was legalized in Alaska on February 24, 2015, following a successful ballot in favor of the Act to Tax and Regulate the Production, Sale, and Use of Marijuana in 2014. The Act, also referred to as Alaska Measure 2, allows adults aged 21 years and over to possess up to one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants of marijuana. Several laws have been passed to amend the 2014 Act. New bills introduced by Alaska lawmakers in 2022 include:
Other administrative laws passed in 2021, which are now included in the 3 AAC 306 Regulations of the Marijuana Control Board are:
Section 3 AAC 306.435
Passed on March 13, 2020, this section requires that all marijuana cultivation facilities must have a Marijuana Inventory Tracking System. This ensures that all marijuana plants grown in the facility are identified and tracked from the time the marijuana is cultivated through transfer to another licensed marijuana establishment. Some of the plants may not be transferred to another marijuana facility but destroyed, and they still have to be tracked and reported. Also, a package of marijuana to be transferred to another marijuana establishment must not exceed 10 pounds in weight. Each batch of clones or cuttings must also be assigned a tracking number of batch names. Each batch must be 50 clones or less.
Sections 3 AAC 306.025(b) and 3 AAC 306.035(b)
Public Notice Form and Renewal of Application: Passed on March 25, 2020, the bill outlines the application procedure to obtain a license or endorsement for the establishment of a new marijuana establishment. An applicant for the license or endorsement is required to complete a Public Notice Posting Affidavit using the Marijuana Control Boards' electronic system. The applicant must notify the public by posting the public notice form for 10 days at:
The applicant is required to publish an announcement once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper or via an alternative media broadcast method. They are also required to submit a copy of the application to the local government in the area where the proposed premises is located. The administrative procedures to determine if the application is successful takes 90 days.
For license renewal, a marijuana establishment will be required by the Marijuana Control Board to:
These must be done on or before the 31st of August each year.
Section 3 AAC 306.100(d)
Increased License Fees for Testing Facilities: On March 25, 2020, the legislature made adjustments to the annual license or endorsement fee payable by applicants for a new marijuana facility. The new license fees are as follows:
Section 3 AAC 306.640(b)
Testing Oversight: On March 25, 2020, the Alaska legislature amended the 3 AAC 306.640(b) of the Regulations of the Marijuana Control Board. With the amendment, the scientific directors of every marijuana testing facility will need to approve, sign, and date each standard operating procedure. They shall also need to approve, sign, and date every revision to any standard operating procedure. The scientific directors shall provide each revision to any standard operating procedure to the board within 10 days after approval for review by the board or the board's contractor. The board or board contractors need to approve a revised standard operating procedure before they are implemented.
Section 3 AAC 306.305(a)
Emergency Regulations in Response to Covid-19: On April 17, 2021, the Alaska legislature made some regulations on the activities of retail marijuana stores. With the new regulation, a licensed retail marijuana store is authorized to:
Section 3 AAC. 306.310(b)
Emergency Regulations in Response to Covid-19: Alaska legislature, on April 17, 2021, made further regulations on the activities of retail marijuana stores. These additional regulations stipulate that licensed retail marijuana stores should not:
Section 3 AAC.306.99
Internet and Phone Orders; Exterior Window or Curbside Pickup: On April 17, 2020, retail marijuana stores were permitted to receive orders through the internet or telephone, only if the customers will come and collect the product physically. Retail marijuana stores are also allowed to supply customers at a location designated for exterior window or curbside pickup.
Section 3 AAC 306.355
Limit on Quantity Sold: On the 18th of October, 2020, the Alaska legislature amended section 3 AAC 306.355. With the amendment, the quantities of products that a marijuana retail store can sell to one person per day are limited to:
Section 3 AAC 306.015(b)(4)
Corporate Officer and Director of a Corporation to be Residents of the State: On the 18th of October, 2020, the legislature amended section 3 AAC 306.015(b)(4). With this amendment, the conditions to issue, renew, or transfer a marijuana establishment certificate now include that corporate officers and directors are residents in Alaska. Also, in the case of a corporation, the corporation must be registered in the state.
Section 3 AAC 306.800(a), 3 AAC 306.830, and 3 AAC 306.845(b)
Amendment to Add Administrative Hold and Seizure Provision: On December 6, 2020, these amendments were made to allow the director, other officers of the marijuana board, or a peace officer to:
Sections 3 AAC 306.460 and 3 AAC 306.557
Regulations about Sample that May be Provided to an Employee for Quality Control Purposes: This amendment was made on December 25, 2020. It stipulates the condition in which a marijuana cultivation facility may prepare a free sample of marijuana to a retail marijuana store. The conditions are as follows:
Section 3 AAC 306.325(a) amended and 3 AAC 306.712
A New Section Regulating the Breastfeeding of a Child on Licensed Premises: The amendment and the new section were made on January 1, 2021. The amendment restricts persons under age 21 from access to marijuana retail stores. The new section, section 3 AAC 306.712, allows a breastfeeding mother, a licensee or employee of a licensee, to bring a child up to 12 months into licensed premises. However, she may not take the child to restricted areas in the facility or onsite consumption areas in the premises. The licensee may designate an area in the facility for breastfeeding or for breastfeeding mothers to have a comfortable place to express milk in bottles for their babies.
Sections 3 AAC 306.030; 3 AAC 306.080; 3 AAC 306.370; 3 AAC 306.990(b).
Onsite Consumption-Clean up: These sections of the law are passed and are due to take effect on August 7, 2021. They allow the Marijuana Control Board, division of the Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office, to approve the onsite consumption endorsement for licensed retail marijuana stores. Consumers may consume marijuana or marijuana products in the onsite consumption area. However, the approval may be hindered if there is a local or state law prohibiting the siting of an onsite consumption area in the licensed premises.
US lawmakers have passed different bills in 2022 to legalize marijuana, which is already legal in several states. Although adult-use marijuana is now legal in Alaska and 18 US states, it is still prohibited at the federal level. In 2018, the US Farm Bill legalized use and cultivation of low-THC cannabis, also known as hemp. A year later, the US House of Representatives presented the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act in a bid to legalize recreational and medical marijuana. The 2019 MORE Act was passed by the House in 2020 but failed to gain approval from the Senate. In 2022, the House moved forward with another MORE Act, which seeks to:
Meanwhile, the US Senate is also working on its own marijuana legislation bill known as the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA). Like the MORE Act, this bill will delist cannabis from the DEA’s Schedule 1 drugs and allow states to legalize marijuana without federal interference. The CAO Act will also resolve a number of issues that are currently plaguing legislated state cannabis markets. Examples of those issues include:
If enacted into law, the bill will promote inclusion and diversity among licensed business owners in supervised cannabis markets and designates cash to be reinvested in regions that have been unduly disadvantaged by the War on Drugs.
The US President has also helped increase the prospect of federal legalization by issuing a marijuana reform executive order in October 2022. The executive action will pardon persons convicted of simple marijuana possession and other states to carry out similar state pardons. President Biden also asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to review how cannabis is scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act.
Yes. Under Section 17.38.020 of Alaska Statutes, an individual 21 years of age or older can legally use, possess, cultivate, gift, and transport up to 1 ounce of marijuana. Per Section 17.38.40 of Alaska Statutes, residents can possess or use up to 4 ounces of marijuana within the confines of their residence. Using marijuana in a retail shop approved for onsite consumption is also legal in Alaska. Unlike the recreational marijuana laws, Alaska Medical Marijuana Laws permit individuals under the age of 21 to use marijuana for medical purposes. The law mandates that the use of marijuana to treat debilitating medical conditions such as cachexia, cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, and HIV/AIDS, must be based on a doctor's prescription. It also requires individuals under the age of 21 to get parental or guardian consent to enable them to use medical marijuana.
Marijuana is the dried flower and leaves of the marijuana plant. It contains psychoactive compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other active compounds like cannabidiol (CBD). Due to the psychoactive properties of marijuana, it is classified as a Schedule I drug by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Historically, marijuana has not always been considered an illegal drug. In the 1800s, marijuana was heavily used for medical purposes. Moves to regulate it began in the late 1800s when the medical community considered it a narcotic that needed to be regulated. The 1910 Mexican Revolution saw the influx of Mexican immigrants and their culture of smoking marijuana to the United States. This led to abuse of the drug and an increased public sentiment against the use of marijuana. As a result of the growing abuse of marijuana, the United States Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937. Shortly after, 23 states passed laws criminalizing the possession of marijuana. This was followed by the removal of marijuana from the United States Pharmacopeia in 1942. Marijuana was eventually listed in the Federal Narcotics Control Act in 1956, making its possession illegal in the U.S. In 1972, a panel was set up by President Richard Nixon to investigate marijuana regulations. After its investigations, the panel recommended that marijuana be decriminalized. This led to several states liberalizing their marijuana laws.
Alaska has several restrictions on the use of recreational marijuana. These include:
In Alaska, the law allows adults aged 21 years and over to purchase recreational marijuana, but it can only be purchased from state-licensed marijuana retail stores. Anyone interested in buying recreational marijuana products needs to locate a marijuana retail store and present their identity cards to be able to make a purchase. It is not compulsory for authorized buyers to have Alaskan residential addresses or Alaskan identification cards. Any government-issued identification card is sufficient. Cash payment is the most acceptable means of payment for recreational marijuana purchases. There is a federal prohibition preventing legal marijuana businesses from using banking services; however, some retail marijuana stores claim to accept card payments. The sales and consumption of certain marijuana products and concentrates such as hashish, hashish oil, and any compound, mixture, or preparation containing Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are illegal.
A patient, their caregiver, an alternate caregiver, a parent or guardian to a minor patient can buy medical marijuana from a retail marijuana store. It is unlikely that you will find a marijuana retail store solely dedicated to the sales of medical marijuana. The purchase of medical marijuana from a marijuana retail store requires the purchaser to present their registry identification card. Minors are not allowed to gain access to marijuana establishments or to purchase marijuana or marijuana products. The consumption of marijuana can only be in a private place and not in a marijuana retail store or any other public place.
Operating a retail marijuana store in Alaska requires the applicant to complete and submit some forms. These forms are:
The applicant also needs to submit proof of possession for their proposed premises, and their food safety permit. They will also need to submit their fingerprint card, pay fingerprint fees of $48.25, new application fees of $1,000, and retail store license fee of $5,000.
AS 17.38 states stringent regulations that guide the sales and consumption of marijuana and marijuana products in the state. The offenses and applicable punishments are stated below:
Alaska marijuana possession laws allow anyone aged 21 years or over to possess not more than one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana. The violation of these limits may warrant punishments.
The unauthorized possession of marijuana for distribution in Alaska is illegal. Only authorized marijuana retail stores are allowed to sell marijuana and marijuana products according to Alaska marijuana distribution laws.
Adults who are 21 years of age or more are also allowed to grow not more than six plants of marijuana in a secured area of their private residence, with not more than three of these being matured and flowering. A violation of Alaska marijuana limitations may warrant a fine of up to $750.
Smoking marijuana in public places like parks and sidewalks is prohibited in Alaska. Residents found guilty of this violation may pay a civil fine of $100 or face further charges. Marijuana consumption on the premises close to playgrounds and schools may result in severe penalties. Both visitors and residents can smoke marijuana or eat edibles on private properties. As a renter, it is important to seek the consent of the landlord before smoking. Also, employees are advised to adhere to the companies’ policies on marijuana to avoid being fired for smoking weed.
Apart from being harmful, driving when high often leads to jail sentences, fine payment, and license suspension. Marijuana DUI punishments in Alaska increase with the number of subsequent offenses. For instance, a motorist with a first marijuana DUI conviction may get a $1500 fine, license suspension for 90 days, a 72-hour jail sentence, and a compulsory ignition interlock device. A second DUI conviction will result in $3000 fine, 20 days jail time, license suspension for one year, and compulsory ignition interlock device. Further convictions may attract lifetime license suspension and other felony charges.
The possession of hashish and concentrates of marijuana either for recreational or medical purposes is not legal in Alaska.
It is possible to beat marijuana violation charges in an Alaska court. With the help of a professional lawyer, defendants can get their charges reduced or dismissed by providing different defense techniques such as:
Some defendants may be eligible for diversionary programs in Alaska. These programs are mostly for first-time violators or juvenile offenders charged with simple possession violations in Alaska. If a court approves the diversion or probation program, the defendant is expected to meet some requirements such as attend therapy sessions, perform community services, and complete regular drug testing. Defendants who successfully complete the diversionary program will have their charges dropped and records expunged.
Alaska decriminalized the consumption of marijuana for the first time on May 16, 1975. The decriminalization became law even without the governor's signature. About one week later, the Alaska Supreme Court delivered a judgment, Ravin v. State, which held that adults have the constitutional right to use and possess small amounts of marijuana in the home for personal use. By the supreme court ruling, Alaska became the first state in the U.S. to announce a constitutional right to privacy. The constitutional right to privacy allows a limited level of marijuana use and possession. In 1982, the Alaska State legislature decriminalized the possession of up to four ounces (110 grams) of marijuana in the home, or up to one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana outside the home.
In 1990, the Alaska Marijuana Criminalization Initiative also called Measure 2 (1990) re-criminalized marijuana by a vote of 54.3% in support of the initiative. By the measure, a penalty of up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1000 are imposed for simple possession of marijuana. Medical marijuana was legalized in Alaska in 1998 by a ballot measure known as Measure 8. The legalization was passed by a vote of 58.7% in favor of the use of medical marijuana. By this law, patients with doctor's recommendations can possess up to one ounce (28 grams) of recreational marijuana or grow up to six plants of marijuana. In 2000, there was an attempt to legalize recreational marijuana, but it failed, having only 40.9% of the vote. Again in 2004, another measure to legalize the recreational use of marijuana failed, having only 44.3% of the vote.
The Alaska legislature in 2006 passed a law criminalizing the possession of quantities of marijuana less than one ounce (28 grams). By the new law, the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana was classified as a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days imprisonment. The possession of one to four ounces of marijuana (28-110 grams) of marijuana became a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year imprisonment. Also, the possession of more than four ounces (110 grams) of marijuana became a felony.
The recreational use of marijuana was finally legalized in Alaska in 2014 through a ballot tagged Measure 2, which passed with a vote of 53.2%. The law allows adults of the age of 21 years and above to possess up to one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana and cultivate six plants of marijuana. This took effect from February 24, 2015. The sale of recreational marijuana was thereby allowed at state-licensed marijuana retail stores, along with medical marijuana.
Alaska has legalized both the recreational uses and medical uses of marijuana. However, there are restrictions placed on the use of marijuana. The restrictions placed on the use of marijuana in Alaska are: