LEARN | LAWS & REGULATIONS
Is weed legal in Alaska?
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.
Alaska was the second state in the U.S. to decriminalize cannabis after President Richard Nixon passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act in 1971. In 1975, the state legislature imposed a $100 fine for possession, effectively decriminalizing the plant, though stopping short of legalizing it.
Also that year the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in Ravin v. State that Alaskan adults had the right to use and possess a small amount of cannabis for personal use, according to Alaska’s constitutional rights to personal privacy. In 1982, the $100 fine was removed. In 1986, the Alaska legislature decriminalized the possession of up to 4 ounces of marijuana (113.4 grams) in the home and up to 1 ounce (28.35 grams) outside of the home.
However, the pendulum swung back toward prohibition in the late 1980s. On the heels of multiple cannabis trafficking busts, voters in 1990 approved the Alaska Marijuana Criminalization Initiative, or Ballot Measure 2. This law made possession of small amounts of marijuana a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail or a $1,000 fine.
The pendulum of public opinion swung again in 1998 when voters passed the Alaska Medical Marijuana Initiative, or Measure 8, a bill that legalized medical cannabis use for qualifying individuals. While the measure legalized cannabis possession and use, there was no legal way for patients and caregivers to obtain the plant.
Anti-cannabis sentiment gained the upper hand in 2006 when the legislature once again criminalized possession. This law was heavily pushed by Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski, who was publicly against cannabis use.
Finally, Alaska’s Measure 2, or The Alaska Marijuana Legalization Initiative, was approved by 53% of voters in 2014 allowing for the regulation, production, sale, and use of recreational cannabis. The measure went into effect in February 2015.
Republican Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer signed off on the state’s approved regulations for onsite consumption on March 12, 2019, and the laws went into effect on April 11, 2019. The onsite consumption rules give each local government jurisdiction over its own county and the ability to determine its own onsite regulations.
Measure 2’s passage changed the Alcohol Beverage Control Board into the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office (AMCO), which established the Marijuana Control Board (MCB) in 2015 to regulate and govern recreational cannabis use.
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) oversees the Medical Marijuana Registry.
Where is it safe to purchase?
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.
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.
There are currently no dispensaries offering specifically medical cannabis for purchase. Therefore, patients and caregivers must purchase marijuana at licensed recreational retailers. Patients younger than 21 must have a caregiver purchase cannabis products on their behalf.
Alaska law prohibits the home delivery of cannabis products to consumers.
Where is it safe to consume?
Public cannabis consumption is prohibited by state law. Legal consumption may occur on private property or in an establishment with a valid onsite consumption endorsement. Adults can consume flower, edibles, concentrates, oils, tinctures, salves, drinks, patches, and topical cannabis products.
Legal consumers may possess 1 ounce (28.35 grams) of any form of marijuana. They may also give, but not sell, up to 1 ounce of marijuana and six immature plants to a person who is 21 or older.
View the marijuana laws & regulations for Alaska.
Alaska Marijuana Laws
Updated July 2019
Alaska is one of the most progressive states in the nation when it comes to marijuana and cannabis policy, both for consumers and business owners. Alaska passed Ballot Measure 2 in February 2015 to become the 3 rd state in the United States to legalize recreational marijuana, and it’s one of the very first states to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Learn more about Alaska marijuana laws below.
Recreational Marijuana in Alaska
Is marijuana legal in Alaska? Yes– recreational marijuana became legal in Alaska in November 2014 after voters approved Measure 2, which allows the possession, use, and sale of adult use cannabis for adults aged 21 and older.
Under Alaska’s marijuana law, individuals can carry up to 1 ounce of marijuana at home or in the trunk of a vehicle. Driving under the influence of marijuana can result in a DUI or OUI arrest. Carrying even trace amounts of recreational marijuana outside of Alaska by vehicle or through a mail service is illegal under federal law.
Possession of more than 1 ounce of recreational marijuana is punishable to up to 5 years in jail and fines up to $50,000. Sale of recreational marijuana can lead to incarcerations up to 10 years and fines up to $100,000.
In March 2019, Alaska became the very first state in the U.S. to allow on-site marijuana use. Under the law, licensed marijuana retail shops can apply for an endorsement that allows them to offer on-site consumption to their customers.
Medical Marijuana in Alaska
Medical marijuana became legal in Alaska in 1999. With written approval from their physicians, patients can possess or transport up to 1 ounce of marijuana flower.
Under Alaska’s law, approved conditions include:
- Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
- Chronic Pain
- HIV or AIDS
- Multiple Sclerosis
Other conditions are subject to approval by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
Consumption of CBD from Hemp Oil in Alaska
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
Cultivation of Cannabis in Alaska
Alaska’s recreational marijuana law allows adults 21 and older to grow up to six plants on their personal properties, with up to one of the three plants mature at any one time. House Bill 75, which passed in July 2016, allows two adults 21 years of age or older that are residing in the same dwelling to grow up to 12 marijuana plants, which six or fewer being mature. Transportation of up to 6 immature plants is also legal, but all cannabis product must be kept in the trunk of the car. Trimmings from these legally-grown plants can be shared with adults over 21, but money cannot be exchanged.
Registered medical marijuana patients can grow up to six plants at home, although no more than three may be mature at any given time.
In 2018, Alaska passed a law to authorize the creation of a program to study the growth, cultivation and marketing of hemp and hemp-derived products like CBD.
Legal Status of Other U.S. States
Stay up to date on the latest state legislation, referendums, and public opinion polls. Our Marijuana Legalization Map allows you to browse the current status of medical and recreational marijuana laws in other U.S. states and territories.
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