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Yes. In 1998, Alaska voters approved Measure 8, also called the Alaska Medical Marijuana Initiative, to legalize medical marijuana in the state. Measure 8 permitted patients with medical marijuana recommendations from qualified healthcare practitioners to possess and use up to 1 ounce of cannabis. Although the state does not have an official medical marijuana program like other states in the United States, medical marijuana patients are still required to apply to be added to the Medical Marijuana Registry. The state's medical marijuana registry is overseen by the Bureau of Vital Statistics under the Department of Health and Social Services. In Alaska, medical marijuana can be purchased as vape oils, tinctures, whole flowers, concentrates, capsules, tablets, and edibles.
Medical marijuana in Alaska refers to any part of the marijuana plant used to treat health-related issues. The active ingredients in marijuana include cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These ingredients can serve as unconventional therapy for chronic medical conditions when prepared in varying percentages and formulations.
According to Alaska Medical Marijuana Act, only qualifying patients with debilitating health conditions can obtain and use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Notably, all medical conditions do not qualify for the use of medical marijuana. Only patients with a state-licensed physician's recommendation and medical marijuana card (MMJ card) are eligible to purchase, possess, and grow medical cannabis in the state of Alaska. An MMJ card is applied for through the state marijuana registry under the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health. Alaska does not require its residents to get a card in order to purchase and consume recreational marijuana.
Alaskans suffering from one or more eligible health conditions can legally obtain and use medical marijuana after getting medical marijuana recommendations from qualified physicians. Eligible health conditions for which healthcare providers may recommend medical marijuana in Alaska include:
Positive status for HIV
Persistent muscle spasms
Any other medical conditions or treatment for such conditions approved by the Department of Health and Social Services
Note that out-of-state medical marijuana patients are not allowed to purchase medical marijuana in Alaska.
To obtain a medical marijuana card in Alaska, you must provide the following in your application:
The original completed copy of the medical marijuana registry application form
The original, signed form of the physician's attestation stating that you qualify for medical marijuana use
An original statement written by your parent or guardian residing in Alaska stating that the parent or guardian consents to serve as your caregiver and consent to your use of medical marijuana. This statement is only required if you are a minor
The application fee of $25
A photocopy of your State of Alaska-issued driver's license or Alaska identification card
Submit completed application to:
Health Analytics and Vital Records
Medical Marijuana Registry
P.O. Box 110699
Juneau, AK 99811-0699
In the application, you must provide your attending physician's name, address, and phone number. If you are designating a caregiver, the individual's name, address, and phone number will also be required. You may use "Return Receipt Service" for mailing your application to ensure that the Bureau of Vital Statistics receives your application and fee. It may take up to 5 weeks for the application to be reviewed by the Department of Health and Social Services. Upon the approval of your application, the medical marijuana card will arrive in the mail, usually within 2 weeks. Note that if your application is denied, you will not be able to apply again for at least six months.
For more inquiries on obtaining a medical marijuana card in Alaska, call the state’s Medical Marijuana Registration Unit at (907) 465-5423.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Alaska Online?
Alaska currently makes no provisions for applying for its medical marijuana card online. Prospective applicants must submit their application by mail as outlined above.
A medical marijuana card in Alaska costs $25. This medical marijuana card fee may be paid using a check or money order made out to the Bureau of Vital Statistics. The medical marijuana card fee is nonrefundable. It costs $20 to renew an Alaska medical marijuana card. Note that you will pay a consultation fee at your appointment with the healthcare practitioner. Typically, the consultation fee ranges between $100 and $250.
Alaska requires that applicants seeking medical marijuana cards consult with doctors before submitting applications for inclusion in the Alaska medical marijuana registry. During your visit to the healthcare practitioner, it is recommended that you take your medical records along. The healthcare practitioner will ask several questions and assess whether you suffer from any of the approved debilitating conditions. On determining that you qualify, the healthcare practitioner will issue you an attestation stating that:
The medical assessment occurred in the context of a bona fide physician-patient relationship and include the medical assessment date
You have been diagnosed and verified to suffer from a debilitating medical condition
The physician has considered other available medications and treatments that may provide relief but has concluded that you will benefit from the medical use of marijuana
Alaska does not currently maintain a publicly available database for healthcare practitioners licensed to issue medical marijuana certifications. Any healthcare practitioner in good standing and licensed to practice medicine in the state may issue medical marijuana certification.
Minors in Alaska can legally use medical marijuana through the assistance of designated caregivers who are approved to obtain and administer medical marijuana on their behalf. Before designating a caregiver, a minor must obtain a medical marijuana attestation from a qualified healthcare practitioner in the state. Besides the physician's statement approving medical marijuana use, a minor must also submit a statement by the caregiver declaring the caregiver's awareness of the potential risks and benefits of medical marijuana and consent to serve as the minor's primary caregiver.
Yes. Alaska regards 18-year old residents as adults. In the state’s medical marijuana program, only qualifying patients under the age of 18 are classified as minors. When they turn 18, they can renew their medical marijuana cards as adults.
The Alaska medical marijuana card is valid for 12 months. It is advised that you renew the card prior to expiration. The renewal process closely mirrors the initial application process. However, the renewal fee is $20 instead of the initial application fee of $25.
You may grow a maximum of six marijuana plants at home, of which no more than three may be mature at any one time, provided you are 21 or older. If two or more adults reside in a household, no more than 12 cannabis plants may be cultivated, of which only 6 may be mature at any one time. Growing marijuana is only permitted if you cultivate the plants for personal medical use. Alaskans are prohibited from growing marijuana at home with the intention of selling the cultivated plants. All grown plants are required to be hidden from the public and must be inaccessible to minors. Appropriate measures must also be taken to mitigate the odor emanating from the cultivation space. Caregivers are also limited to cultivating the same maximum cannabis plants as qualified patients.
Alaska requires that marijuana be grown only on personal properties. If you live in a rented unit, it is crucial that you obtain permission from your property manager or landlord before commencing grow operations.
You must visit a marijuana dispensary in Alaska with your medical marijuana card and a valid identification card to legally purchase medical marijuana.
Yes, it is possible to overdose on marijuana even for medical use, but according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there is no record of fatal overdose in Alaska. When compared to other drugs, overdose on marijuana will likely not be fatal, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Using cannabis will most unlikely lead to an overdose; however, just like every drug, abuse of marijuana is a risk factor for an overdose, even if it is mild. When a user overdoses on marijuana, they may experience the following side effects, including:
Fatigue or lethargy
Increased heart rate
Anxiety and other changes in mood
Paranoia and panic attacks
Nausea and vomiting
Thirstiness or a dry mouth (aka "cottonmouth")
Slower reaction times
It is important to note that overdosing on marijuana with a high THC level may have more severe and lasting effects. The patient must get the right amount of recommendation from their physician to prevent an overdose.
No, pregnant women are advised against the use of cannabis while pregnant and even after birth in Alaska. The chemicals, especially tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana, have been associated with an increased risk of problems that may be experienced during pregnancy. Many pregnant women get nauseous during pregnancy and may resort to medically using marijuana to stop it. The FDA also advises pregnant women to avoid using vaping devices, as it poses the same risk to the unborn child like it's being smoked. The active ingredient in marijuana which is THC, is also present in the water vapor. Also, this includes usage through eating, drinking, creams, or dabbing cannabis. Using marijuana while pregnant can cause related health problems for the baby, like low birth weight. Also, marijuana contains the same chemicals as tobacco smoke; smoking cannabis while pregnant increases the chances of developmental problems for the baby. The other associated risk includes:
Small head circumference
Pregnant women suffering from nausea episodes can consult with their doctors for a healthier option in dealing with it.