The penalties are even more severe for fourth and fifth-time offenders.
Pursuant to Section 17.38.020 of the Alaska Statutes, it is also legal to:
Alaska’s marijuana laws are different from those in other states. It is legal to possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use, and you can possess up to four ounces for personal use in your own home. But, beyond this, possessing marijuana is still a crime in Alaska. The Alaska Statutes establish separate offenses for sale, delivery, cultivation, and driving under the influence of marijuana as well, and these crimes carry severe penalties. If you have been charged with any type of marijuana crime, you need to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense lawyer promptly.
Alaska also has a medical marijuana law that allows eligible patients to grow up to six plants and possess up to one ounce of marijuana for medicinal use. In order to possess and use medical marijuana, Alaska residents must obtain a Medical Marijuana Registry card from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Public Health.
What is Illegal in Alaska?
While it is legal to possess a small amount of marijuana for personal use, there are still many marijuana crimes on the books in Alaska. Many of these crimes are felony offenses that carry the potential for multiple years of imprisonment and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. In Alaska, marijuana crimes include:
In addition to these crimes, it is also illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana in Alaska. Under Section 28.35.030 of the Alaska Statutes, driving under the influence of marijuana (or any other controlled substance) is subject to the same penalties as driving under the influence of alcohol. These penalties are determined based upon the defendant’s prior record (if any):
Under Section 17.38.020 of the Alaska Statutes, it is legal for individuals 21 years of age and older to possess up to once ounce (approximately 28 grams) of marijuana for personal use. It is also legal to use, purchase and transport up to one ounce of marijuana anywhere in the state—with one major exception: You cannot legally use marijuana in public. Under Section 17.38.040 of the Alaska Statutes, using marijuana in public is a violation that is punishable by a fine of up to $100.
What is Legal in Alaska?
Additionally, the Alaska Supreme Court has ruled that possessing up to four ounces of marijuana in your residence (for personal use) is protected by the right to privacy afforded under the Alaska Constitution. The Alaska Supreme Court has also ruled that residents can legally cultivate up to 25 plants in their homes.
Are you facing a marijuana charge in Anchorage or Soldotna? If so, it is important that you speak with an Anchorage criminal defense attorney right away. To schedule an appointment as soon as possible, call me at 907-262-9164 now.
Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services runs the Medical Marijuana Registry. Patient and caregiver application forms are available on the agency’s website.
To become a qualified medical marijuana caregiver, Alaska residents must meet the following requirements:
Cannabis shoppers in Alaska must show a valid state ID as proof of age. At this time, retail stores accept cash only. Consumers are not subject to any sales or use tax on cannabis purchases, but a $50-per-ounce (28.35 grams) tax is levied when cultivators sell to manufacturers or dispensaries, who build that into the retail price.
Under Measure 2, adults 21 and older are able to purchase and consume cannabis from state-licensed retailers and establishments with a valid onsite consumption endorsement. They are able to purchase up to 1 ounce (28.35 grams) of marijuana, 7 grams of cannabis concentrate, or total cannabis with fewer than 5.6 grams of THC. Adults looking to consume cannabis onsite are limited to purchasing no more than 1 gram with a limit of 10 milligrams of THC per transaction.
With the passage of Measure 2 in 2014, Alaska became the third state to legalize recreational cannabis. Medical cannabis use was legalized in 1998 after voters approved the Alaska Medical Marijuana Initiative, or Measure 8.
Licensing for growers, manufacturers, processors, retailers, etc.
Alaska residents seeking to become qualified caregivers must include their name on their designated patient’s application for the Medical Marijuana Registry. They must also include a sworn statement they are at least 21 years old, with proof on a photo ID, and that they have never been convicted of a felony controlled substance offense.
Consumers may carry cannabis in their vehicles while within, but it must be in a sealed container or in the trunk. Measure 2 does not prevent landlords from prohibiting or regulating the use of cannabis on their property, whether for medical or recreational use.
There haven't been any changes in crime rates since legalization, according to Hahn, and municipal taxes collected from the local cannabis shop are going back into the town's operations and capital expenses.
Alaskans voted in favour of legalization in 2014, but the state has had a complicated history with the substance. In a 1975 decision (Ravin v. State), the Alaska Supreme Court protected a person's right to privacy and allowed adults to use and keep small amounts of cannabis at home.
'Positive changes in culture'
Cannabis tourism isn't something Skagway is currently looking to promote, partly because there is nowhere for visitors to legally consume the product.
"This is one of the brighter spots in our economy, and probably one of the fastest growing industries right now," said Neal Fried, a researcher with the Alaska Department of Labor. "That might change as it matures, but it's certainly not anywhere close to maturing."
'Alaskans love their weed, so there is definitely a demand for it,' says the owner of a Skagway grow-op
Federal banking regulations prevent U.S. banks from knowingly working with marijuana businesses, forcing all cannabis operations in Alaska to deal strictly in cash in order to operate.