Is Cannabis Legal in Alaska?

If you’re an Alaska resident or visitor who needs to buy weed, you’ll have to ask yourself an important question. Is cannabis legal in Alaska?

Thankfully, marijuana is fully legal in Alaska, meaning that both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are permitted in the state.

But, before you dash off to buy weed, there are other important things to know. As in other states where marijuana is legal, some rules and regulations guide cannabis use in Alaska, and you must know them to stay on the right side of the law.

The laws tell you where to buy weed, and if you’re a medical marijuana patient, it also lays out how to apply for an Alaska medical marijuana card. Let’s get right into it.

So, is marijuana legal in Alaska? Let’s find out.

  • Medical Marijuana in Alaska

    Alaska legalized medical marijuana all the back in 1998 with the passage of a voter initiative known as Measure 8.

    According to the measure – which passed with 58% of the vote – a doctor must first certify that the patient has a debilitating medical condition that can benefit from marijuana treatment.

    Patients who are minors can consume medical marijuana with parental consent. However, there will be a limit on how much medical marijuana patients can possess.

    LEARN MORE: Alaska Medical Marijuana FAQs

  • Alaska Medical Marijuana Card

    Residents of Alaska who want to access medical marijuana must have a qualifying condition and obtain a physician statement before applying.

    The Alaska Department of Health advises that you scrutinize your application and ensure it is complete before you submit it.

    If your application is incomplete, the department will deny your application, and you will not be able to reapply for six months.

    Benefits of an Alaska Marijuana Card

    Since marijuana laws in Alaska say recreational marijuana is legal, why do you need to get a medical marijuana card? While any adult can buy marijuana, there are benefits to having a medical marijuana card.

    One benefit is a lower age limit for registered patients. Alaska laws on weed state that only adults aged 21 and older can buy recreational marijuana.

    But what if you have a qualifying condition but not up to 21? Patients under 21 can enroll in the marijuana program and buy medical marijuana with a medical card.

    What if you’re over 21? Why do you still need a medical card? Because medical marijuana is taxed at a lower rate than recreational marijuana. Your medical card entitles you to more weed at a lesser cost.

    Another noteworthy benefit is that cardholders can use their cards in states that offer reciprocity.

  • Recreational Marijuana in Alaska

    So, is cannabis legal in Alaska? Recreationally, yes! In 2014, Alaska became the third state to legalize recreational marijuana after a successful ballot initiative that passed with 54% approval – Measure 2.

    The initiative, described as “An Act to tax and regulate the production, sale, and use of marijuana,” allowed adults aged 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and six plants for recreational use.

    The ballot initiative directed the Marijuana Control Board to establish laws regulating recreational marijuana in the state.

    Voters approved the legalization measure on November 4, 2014, and the law went into effect on February 24, 2015. Then, the first recreational marijuana store opened to customers in 2016.

  • Alaska Marijuana Laws

    Remember we said you need to be aware of the Alaska marijuana laws so you don’t commit marijuana crimes? This section will list and explain the Alaska laws on weed.

    Alaska Possession Limit

    Alaska cannabis laws say adults can possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants for personal use.

    Possession of more than one ounce but less than four ounces is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. The penalty can include a fine of up to $10,000.

    Also, adults can transfer one ounce or less of marijuana or up to six marijuana plants to another adult without any compensation; this means you can gift marijuana to fellow adults.

  • What is the Age Limit for Marijuana in Alaska?

    According to marijuana laws in Alaska, only adults aged 21 and older can buy and use recreational marijuana in Alaska.

    You must show proof of age before you purchase marijuana. Minors who buy and use marijuana face a fine of up to $400

    There is no age limit for medical marijuana. However, minors must register in the medical marijuana program via the primary caregiver, who must be a parent or legal guardian.

  • What Forms of Marijuana are Legal in Alaska?

    The Alaska Department of Commerce maintains a list of approved marijuana products. Edibles, concentrates, and topicals are all legal under Alaska Cannabis law.

    You can find a list of approved products here

  • Where Can I Consume Marijuana in Alaska?

    Alaska cannabis law states that it is illegal to consume marijuana in public.

    Alaska laws on weed define the public as “a place to which the public or a substantial group of persons has access and includes highways, transportation facilities, schools, places of amusement or business, parks, playgrounds, prisons, and hallways, lobbies, and other portions of apartment houses and hotels not constituting rooms or apartments designed for actual residence.”

    Public consumption of marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to $100

  • Alaska Marijuana DUI Laws

    Alaska’s DUI laws also apply to marijuana; it is a crime to operate any vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, even if you’re a registered patient.

    According to a fact sheet from the Department of Health and Social Services, “if a substance has impaired your ability to operate a motor vehicle, it is illegal for you to be driving, even if that substance is prescribed or legally acquired.”

    A first DUI offense is punishable by 72 hours in jail, a $1,500 fine, license suspension for 90 days, and installing an ignition interlock device (IID).

    A second DUI offense will attract 20 days in jail, a $3,000 fine, a minimum one-year license suspension, and an IID. You could face additional charges if a child is present in the car.

  • Does Alaska Have Reciprocity?

    Medical patients from out of state cannot participate in the Alaska marijuana program. Fortunately, recreational marijuana is legal, so any adult aged 21 or more can buy and use marijuana in Alaska.

  • Can I Grow Marijuana at Home?

    Growing marijuana at home in Alaska is legal, but you must stick to the legal limit. According to Alaska cannabis law, you can grow up to six plants, but only three can be mature.

    A single house can contain no more than 12 plants, and only six of them can be mature no matter how many adults live there.

    Home cultivation must be in a secure area that is not accessible to unauthorized access and not visible to the public.

    You can cultivate marijuana only on property that lawfully belongs to you. If you want to cultivate marijuana on property that is not in your possession, you must seek the permission of the lawful owner.

    If you violate any of the laws related to marijuana cultivation, you face a fine of up to $750.

  • Can a Property Owner Ban Marijuana on Their Property?

    Yes, marijuana laws in Alaska allow property owners to prohibit possession, consumption, use, display, transfer, distribution, sale, transportation, or growing of marijuana on or on that property.

    If you’re staying at an Airbnb or a short-let rental, ask your host if you can consume marijuana on their property.

  • Does Legal Marijuana Offer Employee Protection?

    Marijuana legalization protects users from prosecution, but employers can institute a drug-free policy.

    If your workplace has a drug-free policy, it is best to adhere to it or speak with a lawyer skilled in employment law.

  • Marijuana Dispensaries in Alaska

    Alaska marijuana law does not use the term “dispensaries.” Instead, it refers to retail marijuana stores.

    You must obtain a license from the Marijuana Control Board before setting up a retail marijuana store. The board also issues licenses for marijuana cultivation, product manufacturing, and marijuana testing facilities.

    The board will not issue a license if the proposed establishment is:

    • Located within 500 feet of a school ground, a recreation or youth center, a building where religious services are regularly conducted, or a correctional facility.
    • Located on liquor-licensed premises.

    The board will not issue licenses to persons convicted of a felony.

    Click here for everything you need to know about a marijuana establishment license, including requirements and the application process.

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