Marijuana Laws in Alaska

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Marijuana Laws in Alaska

Alaska doesn’t always produce progressive laws, so it is somewhat of a surprise that they have legalized medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. Under Measure 2, individuals in Alaska will be able to legally possess, use, and/or cultivate marijuana beginning in March 1, 2015.

What Are Marijuana Laws in Alaska after March 1, 2015?

Possession: Individuals in Alaska 21 years or older may possess up to one ounce of marijuana.

Usage: Usage of marijuana in public will be illegal. Individuals in Alaska can only use marijuana in the privacy of a home (be it their home or a friend’s). It will still be illegal to be under the influence of marijuana while operating a motor vehicle. This will subject the driver to Alaska DUI laws. Measure 2 does not require employers, schools, hospitals, correction facilities, or private persons from restricting marijuana usage on their own property.

Sale: Individuals and businesses should have "marijuana retail" licenses before selling marijuana. The Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is currently drafting the regulations that license holders should adhere to. Local governments retain the authority to regulate or outright ban sales of marijuana in their own jurisdictions.

Cultivation: Adults over the age of 21 will be allowed six plants, three of which may be mature, for personal use. Any adults who cultivate marijuana over the legal limit or for sale purposes should have a "marijuana cultivation" license. Local governments retain the authority to regulate or outright ban marijuana cultivation in their own jurisdictions.

State borders: Individuals cannot transport marijuana outside of or into Alaska. Federal law still prohibits possession, usage, and/or sale of marijuana.

Does Alaska Have a Medical Marijuana Program?

Alaska has a medical marijuana program that predates Measure 2. However, Measure 2 does not modify or restrict the medical marijuana program in anyway. Under Alaska’s medical marijuana program, qualified patients may possess up to one ounce of marijuana and six plants for medical use, three of which may be mature. Alternatively, a primary caregiver may grow the marijuana for the qualified patient. The primary caregiver must be over the age of 21, not on probation or parole, and have no prior convictions for a drug-related felony.

A patient is qualified if the patient has cancer, HIV, glaucoma, or any other disease on Alaska’s list of qualified conditions, as certified by a physician in the 16 months prior to registration. Both the patient and the primary caregiver must be registered with the state and possess a valid registry card. A patient can only have one primary caregiver and a primary caregiver may only have one patient.

Regardless of state law, it is important to realize that medical marijuana is still not recognized by federal law, so even if your home state allows medical marijuana, federal agents can still arrest someone at any time and subject them to penalties pursuant to federal guidelines.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you have been arrested in Alaska for a marijuana crime, it is very important to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. The laws in Alaska range significantly, and for very minute differences in actual marijuana possession. Speaking with a lawyer who is familiar with Alaska's marijuana laws is the best way to receive the advice you'll need to avoid a potential prison sentence.

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Last Modified: 11-21-2014 12:30 PM PST

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