Legal Marijuana in Alaska: An Overview
Even though marijuana use in Alaska was only just formally legalized in 2014 under Ballot Measure 8 (PDF), citizens of the state have been growing it and using it for decades. The Alaska Supreme Court even ruled that citizens are able to use the drug under the protection of their individual state’s rights 40 years ago. That said, most Alaskans consider themselves conservative, which has led to some issues in regulating marijuana. If you plan to buy, grow or sell marijuana in the state, there are some important things to familiarize yourself with first.
Buying and Using Marijuana in Alaska
While the Marijuana Control Board regulates marijuana use in Alaska, there has been heated debate over how to regulate the drug. While people are allowed to purchase and grow marijuana for recreational use, the Alaskan Senate has limited the amounts to one ounce of usable material and 6 plants per person.
You must be at least 21 years old in order to purchase, sell or cultivate marijuana in Alaska. It remains a crime to do so if you are under 18 and you may be prosecuted under law if you are found to violate this mandate.
Anyone who sells marijuana in the state must have a valid business license for selling pot. Check with your sources before you buy to ensure that you are purchasing from a legitimate, legal business for your own protection.
Public consumption of marijuana in Alaska is prohibited. You need to restrict your marijuana use to the privacy of your own home for the best chance of not being prosecuted for use.
An adult age 21 or older is legally allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants at once. Up to three of these plants may be flowering. Although no current law exists to limit the number of plants per household, legislation is being considered to limit the total number of household plants to 12.
As with any other state, sending marijuana over the state line remains prohibited in Alaska due to the drug’s illegal status in many other states. Driving under the influence of marijuana and selling the drug without a license are both considered crimes as well and are punishable by law.
Property owners in Alaska are allowed to ban the growing of marijuana on their property. The law states that “a person, employer, school, hospital, recreation or youth center, correction facility, corporation or any other entity who occupies, owns or controls private property may prohibit or otherwise regulate the possession, consumption, use, display, transfer, distribution, sale, transportation or growing of marijuana on or in that property.”
According to No. AS 17.38.020, adults may only grow plants for their own use, although they may give up to one ounce away to others. Personal marijuana cannot be bought or sold, nor can it be combined with other adults’ crops of marijuana to increase crop yield.
The punishments for violating the law can vary, but most include a ticket and a fine to pay. Marijuana use on federal lands can result in the loss of your driver’s license, community service and possibly even a probation sentence.
Marijuana use in Alaska is most consistent among 18 to 25-year-olds.
Individual communities in Alaska are allowed to opt out of having commercial marijuana establishments in their towns.
Marijuana use for recreational purposes was first allowed in Alaska in 1975.
The law in Alaska prohibits building or operating a marijuana licensed facility within 500 feet of a school, youth or recreation center or building where religious services are held. Such buffer zones are not currently in place regarding parks.
Prices for weed in Alaska vary. A gram can cost as low as $16 while an ounce may be as high as $400, depending upon the location.
It is illegal to have or grow any amount of marijuana above the amount stipulated by law, to grow or have marijuana if you are under the age of 21 or to violate any other local and state laws. Federal laws also still apply, making it illegal to smoke on federal land.
Pot is the most often used drug for recreational purposes in the United States.
Alaskan employers may continue to conduct drug testing at their own discretion and enforce their own policies regarding drug use.
Around 42% of the population has tried pot.
Heavy marijuana users may develop the same illnesses as cigarette smokers, such as bronchitis and respiratory disease.
Over 800,000 people are arrested for using marijuana in the United States on an annual basis.
Chinese Emperor Shen Nung is thought to have been the first person in written history to use marijuana for medical purposes in 2727 BC.
Pot can be harmful to animals. While some owners do give it to their pets as a treatment for disease, it is recommended to seek veterinary help instead to prevent harm from coming to your pet.
While pot tourism facilitated by places like Rent a Vape and Kush Tourism is available in several states, Alaska is considered a favorite among tourists. Many wish to visit in the first place due to the Alaskan scenery, Northern Lights and other sights, but Alaska is also known for some specific strains, like Alaskan Thunder. There is also the fact that individuals can gift each other with small amounts of pot, a unique law in the United States so far.
As one of the first states to approve medical marijuana, Alaska allows the use of the drug to treat the symptoms of many different conditions, including but not limited to cancer, chronic pain, seizures, glaucoma and HIV/AIDS. Even so, without any medical dispensaries or ways to legally purchase marijuana in the state, most citizens have a primary or secondary caregiver grow their plants for their use if they are unable to do it themselves. In the past, many doctors have also been reluctant to support patients in obtaining medical marijuana in the state.
While patients are expected to register to obtain medical marijuana, due to the stigma around the drug law enforcement officials believe that most opt to not register, which is why the number of individuals reported to use marijuana is thought to be much higher in the state.
The application used to become a marijuana seller in Alaska is available online. Additional forms are required per law should you wish to manufacture marijuana in a facility, test the drug in a facility, open up a store or cultivate a crop. Prior to paying for a license, individuals must first advertise that they are pursuing selling marijuana, post public notices and complete supplemental documentation. Once approved, the fees can be paid with a check or money order. These methods are expected to become more technologically advanced in the upcoming years.