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The cannabis movement in the United States has been going from strength to strength in the last decade.
Over half of the states in the country have decriminalized or fully legalized the possession and use of cannabis.
One of the states leading the way at the beginning of the shift toward legalization was Alaska.
In this quick guide, we will look at whether weed is completely legal in Alaska and any penalties and other restrictions that are imposed on the possession and consumption of cannabis.
Has Weed Been Legalized In Alaska?
The good news is yes, weed has been legalized in Alaska. In fact, the drug was made legal for recreational and medical use back in 2014.
The state managed to create a legal framework that included the recreational sale of cannabis.
There are two main legal bodies that regulate the laws surrounding the production, sale, and consumption of cannabis.
They are the Alaska Statute Title 17 Chapter 38: “The Regulation of Marijuana” and Section 3 of the Alaska Administrative Code Chapter 306: Regulation of Marijuana Industry.
These two bodies are designed to make sure that the cannabis that is available in the state is safe for consumption and is being regulated.
This helps to keep recreational and medicinal users safe.
Recreational Cannabis Use
Recreational cannabis use has been legal since 2015. The bill was signed in 2014, but the new laws didn’t come into effect until 2015.
Despite the fact that recreational cannabis use was legal from 2015, recreational dispensaries weren’t launched until 2016.
People who get their cannabis from legal dispensaries are allowed to purchase and possess up to an ounce of cannabis flowers.
People are also allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants at home.
There are a few caveats that apply to the cannabis that is grown at home. The weed that is grown in a private residence can only be used personally and cannot be sold.
Even though you are allowed to grow up to six plants, only three of them are allowed to be flowering at one time. This is to limit the amount of dried flowers you have at home.
A private residence can possess an amount of up to 4 ounces without facing any legal ramifications. This applies as long as the weed remains in the home and is for personal use only.
If the weed exceeds this amount, or there is evidence that you are selling the weed, you may face legal consequences.
Medicinal Cannabis Use
Alaska has a long history of going back and forth between criminalizing and decriminalizing weed.
However, in 1998, the state permanently legalized marijuana for medical use with the passing of the Alaska Medical Marijuana Initiative.
When the law was first passed, patients that qualified for medically prescribed marijuana were allowed to possess and consume cannabis.
Alaska was only the second state in the country to put a medical marijuana program in place after California.
Under the Alaskan medical marijuana rules, both patients and their carers are able to purchase, grow, and possess up to 1 ounce of medical marijuana.
As with recreational users, they are allowed to grow up to 6 plants at home with 3 flowering at any given time.
If you are found to be in possession of more than 1 ounce of cannabis, you can use a medical defense to avoid charges.
This can only be successfully fought if you have a medical need for higher amounts of cannabis that can be corroborated by a doctor.
This also only applies to cannabis flowers, not concentrates or extracts.
Penalties For Cannabis Possession
Because cannabis has been completely decriminalized in Alaska, it is actually quite difficult to end up receiving a penalty for your cannabis possession.
However, that doesn’t mean that it is impossible.
If you are found to be in possession of more than 4 ounces of cannabis, this is considered a class A misdemeanor.
If you are charged with this offense, you could be facing up to 1 year in prison and a fine of $10,000.
If you are caught trying to sell marijuana to adults or minors in Alaska, the same penalties apply no matter how small the amount of cannabis is.
Is It Legal To Smoke Cannabis In Public In Alaska?
Even though cannabis is fully legal in Alaska, smoking in public is still not allowed. This is the case in most places where cannabis is illegal due to the psychoactive properties of the plant.
If you are found to be smoking cannabis in public in Alaska, you will end up with a fine of up to $100.
Since 2019, dispensaries have been allowed to apply for a special license that grants them permission to allow customers to consume cannabis in-store.
This license is known as an “onsite consumption endorsement”. If a dispensary has this license it should be clearly displayed.
In dispensaries with licenses, you will be able to purchase and consume cannabis on-site without legal repercussions.
Is It Legal To Grow Cannabis In Alaska?
As we mentioned above, it is legal to cultivate your own cannabis plants in a private residence. However, you can only grow 6 plants at a time.
Only 3 of those plants are allowed to be flowering at the same time.
You are also only allowed to store 4 ounces of cannabis flowers on your property at one time. The weed should also not be removed from your home.
If you are found to be in possession of more than this amount of weed, you may face misdemeanor charges.
Can You Travel With Cannabis In Alaska?
Yes, you are allowed to travel with cannabis in Alaska. The law stipulates that the weed should be in a closed container that is out of reach of the driver.
As in any state, it is illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis. The penalties for doing so are the same as driving under the influence of alcohol.
You cannot cross state lines with cannabis. This is considered to be drug trafficking and carries heavy penalties.
Alaska has been a leading force in the cannabis movement since the 90s.
Both recreational and medicinal use of cannabis has been legal for many years and are unlikely to be recriminalized any time soon.
Learn more about West Coast weed laws and the legal status of cannabis in neighboring states.
- Is weed legal in Hawaii?
- Is weed legal in Idaho?
- Is weed legal in Oregon?
- Is weed legal in Washington?
I’m an avid gardener and cannabis enthusiast. You can usually find me in my garden caring for my plants or at my computer crafting helpful blogs for my readers.