Alaska Marijuana Laws

  1. Alaska Cannabis
  2. Alaska Marijuana Laws

Key Points

  • Alaska residents can use or possess legal amounts of medical and recreational marijuana.

  • Alaska residents must be 21 years and above to buy cannabis without a prescription. Medical cannabis is available to all registered patients; however, minors who have qualifying conditions can buy prescribed weed with the help of their caregivers.

  • Alaska residents can only buy up to one ounce of weed for both recreational and medical use.

  • Alaska residents can grow up to six cannabis plants in their private properties.

  • Penalties for violating Alaska marijuana laws range from misdemeanor to felony depending on the severity of the crime.

Is Marijuana Legal 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:

  • Possess, use, display, or purchase up to one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana.

  • Possess, grow, process, or transport not more than six marijuana plants. Out of the six plants, not more than three are allowed to grow to maturity, i.e. the stage of flowering and production of seeds.

  • Possess, grow, and process not more than 12 marijuana plants in a single premises occupied by more than one person aged 21 and over. Out of the 12 plants, not more than six are allowed to grow to maturity, i.e stage of flowering and production of seeds.

  • Transfer as much as one ounce of marijuana and up to six premature marijuana plants to another adult who is 21 years or over without remuneration.

  • Consume marijuana, but not in public places.

  • Assist another adult aged 21 years or over to possess, grow and process marijuana within the above-stated quantities and above stated conditions.

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:

  • Purchase and possess as much as one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana or less.

  • Purchase up to seven (7) grams of cannabis concentrate from a retail marijuana store.

Despite the legalization of recreational marijuana in Alaska, the possession of certain marijuana products and concentrates are illegal. These products and concentrates are hashish, hashish oil, and any compound, mixture, or preparation containing Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Alaska Marijuana Laws in 2022

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:

  • House Bill 289 - AK Marijuana Industry Task Force: This bill seeks to create a marijuana industry task force that will review the current cannabis tax system and provide recommendations. Although the bill is now dismissed, the Governor issued Administrative Order No. 339 in September 2022, which serves as a replacement. Now regarded as the Governor’s Advisory Task Force on Recreational Marijuana, the team consists of 13 voting members and they will provide a report to the Governor in January 2023. Implementation of recommendations provided by the task force will lead to major changes in the Alaska marijuana industry.

  • House Bill 246 - Access to Marijuana Conviction Records: This bill aims to erase most low-level marijuana conviction history from the state’s e-database. Once the bill is signed as law, the Alaska Court System's e-database, CourtView, would no longer include searches for convictions for infractions such as simple marijuana possession. However, courthouses would still have access to the records. The bill is presently being considered by the Senate Finance Committee; it also has the support of a number of Republican senators, so it is likely to be passed before the term is up. Governor Dunleavy tweeted on April 20 to show his support for the bill.

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 location of the proposed premises where the license is to be used

  • A conspicuous location in the area where the license is proposed to be used

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:

  • Provide the license number, license type, establishment name, and premises address of the license to be renewed.

  • Provide the name of the applicant, business name of the marijuana establishment, social security number, and the applicant's state business license number.

  • Provide the mailing address, telephone number, and social security number of the proposed licensee.

  • Pay the license renewal fee applicable for their license type.

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:

  • A new retail marijuana store license costs $5,000, while a retail marijuana store license renewal costs $7,000.

  • A new limited marijuana cultivation facility license costs $1,000, while the renewal of a limited marijuana cultivation facility license costs $1,400.

  • A new standard marijuana cultivation facility license costs $5,000, while the renewal of a standard marijuana cultivation facility license costs $7,000.

  • A new marijuana concentrate manufacturing facility license costs $1,000, and the renewal of a marijuana concentrate manufacturing facility license costs $2,000.

  • A new marijuana testing facility license costs $1,000, and the renewal of a marijuana testing facility license costs $5,000.

  • An onsite consumption endorsement to a retail marijuana store license costs $2,000.

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:

  • Sell marijuana and marijuana products within approved limits to adults aged 21 years and over, to be consumed off the retail store premises.

  • Store marijuana or marijuana products in restricted areas within the licensed premises.

  • Allow the consumption of marijuana or marijuana products on the approval of the Marijuana Control Board.

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:

  • Allow consumers to access the premises of their retail marijuana store or conduct business with customers between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. every day.

  • Allow customers to consume marijuana or a marijuana product on the premises of their licensed premises, except approved by the board.

  • Offer to deliver marijuana or marijuana products to consumers, either for marketing purposes or for any other reason,

  • Not allow an intoxicated person or drunken person into the premises of a retail marijuana store.

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:

  • One ounce of usable marijuana.

  • Seven grams of marijuana concentrates for inhalation.

  • 5,600 milligrams of THC in combined sales of marijuana and marijuana products.

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:

  • Inspect the premises of a marijuana establishment and their overlapping premises. They may also inspect marijuana and marijuana products on the premises and operational equipment and business records at any reasonable time.

  • Issue reports on their findings in the facility

  • Seize or place an administrative hold on marijuana or any marijuana product in a marijuana establishment in situations that:

    • The products are not properly logged into the marijuana establishment's inventory tracking system.

    • They have adulterated marijuana products, improperly packaged or improperly labeled products in the facility.

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:

  • The marijuana must be packaged in a sample jar containing a maximum of three and one-half grams of marijuana. This is to be protected by a plastic or metal mesh screen to allow the retail store to smell the product before purchase.

  • A free sample of marijuana provided to negotiate a sale must not be more than one ounce.

  • A marijuana cultivation facility may not provide more than one ounce of marijuana as a free sample per month to a licensed retail marijuana store.

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.

Timeline of Cannabis Law in Alaska

  • 1937: Marijuana became illegal in Alaska and other states in the US.

  • 1975: Alaska legislators passed the law to decriminalize cannabis on May 16, 1975. The law, which was approved without the Governor’s signature, imposed a $100-fine for simple marijuana possession. In the same year, the Alaska Supreme Court declared, during the Ravin v. State court proceedings, that residents had the right to possess marijuana.

  • 1982: Alaska legislators introduced and approved further decriminalization bills after the Ravin v. State ruling. The new law will impose only civil fines and other minimal penalties on persons who carry up to four ounces of marijuana at home and one ounce in public places.

  • 1990: The first ballot measure (Measure 2) introduced in 1990 was designed to recriminalize marijuana in Alaska. Approved with 54.3% of Alaska voters, the measure imposed a 90-day jail sentence and $1000-fine for simple possession offenses.

  • 1998: Medical cannabis became legal after more than 58% of Alaska voters approved the Alaska Medical Marijuana Initiative or Measure 8 in 1998. The new law allowed medical patients with qualifying conditions and physician’s recommendation to buy up to 1 ounce of weed. Patients with medical marijuana cards can also grow up to six marijuana plants in Alaska.

  • 2006: The Governor pushed for a legislative bill that would recriminalize cannabis in 2006. In the new law, residents found with less than four ounces of marijuana without a prescription will face misdemeanor charges; penalties for these charges range from 90 days to one year jail term.

  • 2014: Recreational marijuana became legal in 2014 to be effective from February 25, 2015. More than 53% of voters approved Measure 2, which allows residents to own up to one ounce of weed and grow six marijuana plants.

Federal Legalization of Weed in 2022

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:

  • Remove cannabis from the illicit drugs list in the 1970 Controlled Substances Act.

  • Eliminate cannabis-related federal offense penalties.

  • Expunge previous marijuana convictions.

  • Permit other states to develop their own regulatory frameworks free from federal interference.

  • Prevent non-citizens from suffering immigration consequences as a result of using and possessing marijuana.

  • Stop federal organizations from refusing qualified applicants access to school loans, government benefits, or jobs because they consume marijuana.

  • Support community social services that have been impacted by the protracted war on drugs through a federal excise tax of 5% on marijuana sales.

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:

  • Lack of financial services accessibility.

  • Federal tax returns on marijuana establishments.

  • Absence of uniform federal administrative regulations and standards.

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.

Can I Use Cannabis?

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:

  • Age Restrictions: Per Alaska Statutes Section 17.38.020, only individuals 21 years and older are permitted to use marijuana recreationally. However, the Medical Use of Marijuana Law permits individuals under the age of 21 to use medical marijuana. Such individuals must have a physician's prescription and parental or guardian consent.

  • Consumption Restrictions: Per Alaska Statutes Section 17.38.40, the state restricts the consumption of marijuana to private places. Individuals who consume marijuana in the public risk up to a $100 fine. Marijuana consumption is also prohibited on federal properties, school buses, workplaces, correctional facilities, or within 500 feet of school ground or a youth center.

  • Restriction on Sale: Alaska prohibits the sale of cannabis to individuals under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance. Per Alaska Statutes Section 17.38.020, it is illegal to sell marijuana to individuals under the age of 21. Also, Alaska Statutes Section 17.38.230 forbids a licensed marijuana establishment from selling marijuana in an established village where the voters have voted against the sale of marijuana.

How the Legal Sale of Cannabis in Alaska happens

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.

Penalties for Marijuana-related Crimes in Alaska

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:

Possession in Alaska

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 possession of between more than one ounce and less than four ounces of marijuana is deemed a misdemeanor. This may warrant one-year imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both.

  • Possession of four ounces of marijuana may warrant a felony charge punishable by five years imprisonment, a $50,000 fine, or both.

  • Possession of any quantity of marijuana within 500 feet of a school ground or recreational center may warrant a felony charge punishable with five years imprisonment, or a $50,000 fine, or both. The consumption of marijuana in public is a violation punishable by a fine of $100.

Possession with Intent to Distribute in Alaska

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.

  • The possession of less than one ounce of marijuana for distribution may warrant a misdemeanor charge punishable with one-year imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both.

  • The possession of one ounce of marijuana or more may warrant a felony charge punishable by five years imprisonment, a $50,000 fine, or both.

  • The sales or delivery of less than one ounce of marijuana may warrant a charge with a misdemeanor punishable with one-year imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both.

  • The sales or delivery of one ounce of marijuana or more may warrant a felony charge punishable by 5 years imprisonment, a $50,000 fine, or both.

  • The sales or delivery of marijuana to a person under 19 years, or who is three or more years younger than the seller may warrant a felony charge punishable by 10 years imprisonment, or a $100,000 fine, or both.

  • The delivery, manufacture, or possession of any quantity of hash, hashish oil, and other compounds containing THC concentrate may warrant a felony charge punishable by one to three years of imprisonment or a $100,000 fine or both.

  • Delivering, manufacturing, or possessing hash or THC concentrates with an intent to deliver is a Class B felony, which is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 or one to three years imprisonment.

  • Delivery of any quantity of hash or concentrate of marijuana to an individual who is less than 19 years of age or at least three years younger than the person delivering the substance is a first-degree felony. It is an offense punishable by a fine of up to $500 or a sentence of 5-99 years.

  • There are no laws in Alaska punishing the possession, sale, or cultivation of marijuana paraphernalia.

Cultivation in Alaska

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.

Marijuana Consumption in Alaska

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.

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Alaska

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.

Additional Limitations

The possession of hashish and concentrates of marijuana either for recreational or medical purposes is not legal in Alaska.

  • Possession of any quantity of hash, hashish oil, and other compounds, mixtures, or preparations containing THC concentrates may warrant a charge with a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year jail or $10,000 fine or both.

  • The possession of hash or concentrates of marijuana on a school bus or within 500 feet of a school or youth center may warrant a charge of Class C felony. Such a charge is punishable by a jail term of up to two years if the person involved is a first-time offender. Subsequent offenses may warrant a jail term of up to five years imprisonment.

  • A person under 21 years of age should not falsify their age or identity in an attempt to purchase marijuana or gain access to a marijuana establishment. Anyone found guilty of such falsification will be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine up to $400.

  • A person found violating Alaska marijuana trafficking laws risks forfeiting assets to law enforcement agencies. In Alaska, confiscation of assets like vehicles, houses, and cash is possible if the law enforcer found that the asset is part of the proceeds from controlled substance violations.

Possible Remedies for Violators of Alaska Marijuana Laws

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:

  • Illegal or warrantless search

  • Excessive force by the arresting officers

  • Wrong amounts of marijuana

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.

What is Alaska's Cannabis History?

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.

What are Restrictions on Cannabis in Alaska?

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:

  • No one below the age of 21 years is allowed to purchase or use recreational marijuana.

  • No one is allowed to grow more than six plants of marijuana, with no more than three being mature and flowering.

  • The possession of more than one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana is illegal.

  • It is illegal to use or display marijuana in public (regardless of the type).

  • It is illegal to purchase or use marijuana within 500 feet of a school ground or recreational center in Alaska.

  • It is illegal to possess marijuana for the purpose of distribution without a license

  • It is illegal to sell marijuana to anyone below the age of 21.

  • The possession and consumption of hashish, hashish oil, and other compounds, mixtures or preparations containing THC for recreational and medical purposes is illegal in Alaska.

  • Driving under the influence of marijuana is prohibited in Alaska.

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