Can You Mail Weed Legally in Alaska?
No. Alaska supports the recreational and medical use of marijuana under its local laws but restricts mailing marijuana products within or outside the state. The US Postal Service complies with federal laws and prohibits the shipment of marijuana for recreational or medical purposes. Third-party shipping agencies also adhere to federal laws on mailing weed.
What Are the Penalties for Transporting Edibles Across State Lines in Alaska?
Edibles are food products that contain cannabis. Edible cannabis products include baked goods, chocolates, lozenges, mints, and beverages. These products are used to ingest marijuana as an alternative to smoking. The following are penalties for transporting edibles across state lines according to the US Food and Drugs Act:
- Less than 50 kilograms: Up to 5 years in jail and a maximum of $250,000.00 for an individual, or $1,000,000.00 if not an individual.
- 100 - 1,000 kilograms: 5 to 40 years in jail, and a fine of $5,000,000.00 for an individual, or $25,000,000.00 if not an individual.
- Above 1,000 kilograms: Jail time of 10 years to life, and $10,000,000.00 for individuals or $50,000,000.00 if not an individual.
- A second-time conviction for transporting edible marijuana: Double the sentence based on marijuana weight.
- Serious bodily injury or death: The penalty for transporting edibles that lead to serious bodily injury or death of another is life imprisonment. The court may also impose fines on a conviction based on the quantity of edibles transported.
How to Get a Drug Trafficking Charge Dismissed in Alaska
Any individual accused of drug trafficking can take advantage of the following defenses to get charges dismissed:
- Entrapment: The defense of entrapment is to claim that the individual was set up by the police. Here, the defense asserts that the accused committed the crime because a law enforcement officer or government agent pressured, coerced, or induced them to do so.
- Necessity: The defense here is to claim that the defendant trafficked the drugs out of necessity, usually for the safety of oneself or a loved one.
- Deny ownership: A common defense is to deny ownership. Here, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution as they have to prove the defendant was in complete possession of the drug.
- Unlawful search: The defense can prove that law enforcement officers conducted an illegal search without the proper warrants. An attorney can also prove that the arresting officer did not read the accused their rights.
- No knowledge of the drugs: The defense must prove that the accused did not know about the drugs they were trafficking.
- Insanity: A judge can dismiss a drug trafficking charge based on insanity if the defense can prove that the accused had no knowledge they were trafficking drugs due to a mental defect.
- Intention: It is possible to get drug trafficking charges dismissed if the defense can prove that the defendant had no intention to distribute, transport, or sell the drugs. Although the judge may drop the charge, the prosecution can reduce it to possession depending on the quantity of the drugs.
- Accepting a Plea deal: In exchange for a reduced sentence or outright dismissal of drug charges, the defendant can cooperate with the prosecution by giving out relevant information about the operations of a related drug trafficking cartel.
Alaska divides controlled substances into six groups - IA to VIA. Marijuana is the only drug classified under Schedule VIA. Consequently, the penalties an individual faces for trafficking other drugs may be less grievous than a marijuana trafficking charge.
Drug Trafficking Facts in Alaska
In Alaska, a person found guilty of trafficking a controlled substance commits a felony punishable by fines and incarceration depending on the controlled substance and trafficked quantity.
The Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit (SDEU), under the Alaska Department of Public Safety, monitors drug trafficking in the state by identifying and arresting distributors of controlled substances. The SDEU also collaborates with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) under the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Program (HIDTA) to disrupt the trafficking and distribution of controlled substances in Alaska.
The DPS 2021 Annual Drug Report shows the SDEU made 455 drug-related seizures, confiscating over 91,000 grams of controlled substances. Marijuana accounted for more than half of the seizures, with methamphetamine ranked second at over 25,000 grams. The least seized controlled substance was Fentanyl at 612 grams.
How Many Grams of Weed Is Considered Trafficking in Alaska?
Trafficking any amount of weed is an offense in Alaska. However, the state permits citizens above 21 years to possess, use, grow, purchase, and transport up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use. There is also the provision for persons with qualifying medical conditions to obtain medical marijuana in specific quantities. Persons convicted of marijuana trafficking face jail time of up to 10 years and fines of up to $100,000.00, depending on the amount trafficked.
What Are the Weed Trafficking Consequences in Alaska?
The following are the consequences of trafficking weed in Alaska:
- First Degree (AS 11.71.010): It is an offense in the 1st degree to deliver any amount of a Schedule IA controlled substance to a person under 19 who is at least three years younger than the defendant. Trafficking in the 1st degree is punishable by 5-99 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $500,000.00.
- Second Degree (AS 11.71.021): A person is guilty of a crime in the second degree if they knowingly trafficked a Schedule IA controlled substance. The penalty is a jail sentence of up to 20 years and a fine not exceeding $250,000.00.
- Third Degree (AS 11.71.030): A person commits a drug trafficking offense in the 3rd degree if they deliver any amount of a Schedule IVA and VA controlled substance to persons under 19 years. It is also an offense in the 3rd degree to deliver any quantity of a Schedule IIA or IIIA drug. A person convicted of drug trafficking in the 3rd degree is liable to a maximum jail sentence of ten years and a fine of not more than $100,000.00.
- Fourth Degree (AS 11.71.040): A person commits a 4th-degree felony if they intentionally manufacture or distribute any amount of a Schedule IVA or VA controlled substance. Drug trafficking in the 4th degree is punishable by a maximum jail time of five years and up to $50,000.00 in fines.
- Fifth Degree (AS 11.71.050): A 5th-degree felony charge occurs when an individual delivers a mixture, preparation, or compound weighing less than one ounce of weed. A person guilty of this offense gets a maximum jail sentence of one year with a fine of up to $10,000.00.
How to Transport Weed Legally in Alaska
Anyone above 21 years without a criminal record can legally transport marijuana in Alaska. However, the law requires all persons intending to transport weed to obtain a marijuana license from the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development. All persons applying for a license must submit required information, including fingerprints, fees, and the location of the marijuana establishment. Holders of a marijuana license may renew the license 90 days before its expiration. There is no limit to the amount a licensed marijuana business may carry.
The board mandates companies transporting marijuana to adhere to the following guidelines when packaging or labeling products before transportation:
- All marijuana products must be in opaque, child-resistant, and resealable containers.
- The packages should not contain images or characters visibly appealing to children.
- The package must show the store of purchase and licensing number.
- Resealable products must be difficult for children under five to open.
- Labeling on packaged products must include all necessary warnings.
- The label must contain the estimated amount of THC in a single serving.
- The license holder must include a transportation manifest while moving the products.
- Packaging must display the batch number, ingredients, expiry date, net weight, and nutritional facts.