November 27, 2023 7 min read

In the last decade, Alaska has transitioned from cannabis prohibition to fully legal adult use. With both medical and recreational cannabis available in the state, the evolving cannabis landscape can be difficult to navigate and understand. 

Luckily, we’re here to break it all the way down. Here’s what you need to know about Alaska cannabis laws, including details regarding possession, cultivation, penalties, and how cannabis is bought and sold in the state. 

Let’s jump in:

Table of Contents
Is Cannabis Legal in Alaksa?
Alaska Marijuana Laws
How the Legal Sale of Cannabis Happens
Penalties for Marijuana-Related Crimes
Timeline of Cannabis Laws in Alaska

Key Takeaways

  • Cannabis is legal for recreational and medical use in Alaska.
  • Alaska residents over the age of 21 can purchase cannabis at state-licensed dispensaries and can cultivate cannabis in their homes. 
  • Adults can possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis. 
  • Cannabis concentrates, whether for recreational or medical use, are prohibited in Alaska.
  • There are penalties for possessing more than the allowable amount of cannabis, for unlicensed sales, and for consuming in public spaces. 
Cannabis flower and concentrate, examples of products that may be found in legal stat dispensaries.

Is Cannabis Legal in Alaska?

Absolutely! Both medical and recreational marijuana have the green light in Alaska. The Marijuana Statutes and Regulations of Alaska allow people age 21 and older to grow, buy, or own limited amounts of marijuana for recreational use. Medical use is also approved for those with a qualifying condition

Qualifying Conditions and Regulations for Medical Cannabis in Alaska

For medical use, patients with qualifying conditions can seek medical marijuana cards via the Alaska Medical Marijuana Registry. The qualifying conditions include: 

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • severe pain
  • Seizures
  • severe nausea
  • cachexia/wasting syndrome
  • persistent muscle spasms
  • multiple sclerosis.

Medical cardholders or their caregivers, regardless of age, can:

  • Purchase and hold up to an ounce of marijuana.
  • Buy up to seven grams of cannabis concentrate from a retail marijuana store.

Despite recreational marijuana being legal, certain products like hashish, hashish oil, or anything with Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are a no-go.

Regulations for Adult Use Cannabis in Alaska

Adults over the age of 21 can:

  • Possess, use, or buy up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana.
  • Grow, handle, or move no more than six marijuana plants, with a cap of three reaching maturity (flowering and seed production) on a property occupied by one adult. 
  • Manage up to 12 plants on a property shared by multiple adults 21 and older, with six reaching maturity.
  • Gift up to an ounce of marijuana and six premature plants to another adult over 21 without getting paid.
  • Enjoy marijuana–but only in private spaces. 
  • Help another adult over 21 to manage marijuana within the stated limits and conditions.

Restrictions for Cannabis Use in Alaska

Alaska has embraced both recreational and medical marijuana but under strict regulations. Here are the key restrictions:

  • Purchasing or using recreational marijuana is restricted to those 21 years and older.
  • Growing more than six marijuana plants, with a limit of three mature ones, is prohibited.
  • Possessing over one ounce of marijuana is illegal.
  • Public use or display of marijuana, regardless of type, is prohibited.
  • Using or purchasing marijuana within 500 feet of schools or recreational centers is illegal.
  • Possessing marijuana for distribution without a license is prohibited.
  • Selling marijuana to anyone under 21 is illegal.
  • Possessing or consuming hashish, hashish oil, or THC-containing products for recreational or medical use is illegal.
  • Driving under the influence of marijuana is strictly prohibited.

Cannabis flower, hand rolled joints, and edibles as examples of the types of cannabis products that are legally bought and sold in Alaksa

Alaska Marijuana Laws

Origins of Legalization:

Recent Legislative Changes:

  • House Bill 289:Proposed a marijuana industry task force; now replaced by the Governor’s Advisory Task Force on Recreational Marijuana.
  • House Bill 246: Aims to erase low-level marijuana convictions from the state’s e-database.
  • Administrative Order No. 339 replaces HB 289, focusing on industry changes recommended by the task force.

Amendments and Administrative Laws (2021 and 2020)

Other administrative laws were passed in 2021 and are now included in the 3 AAC 306 Regulations of the Marijuana Control Board, including:

  • 3 AAC 306.435: Requires marijuana cultivation facilities to employ a tracking system for plant identification and transfer.
  • Public Notice and Renewal Procedures (3 AAC 306.025(b) and 3 AAC 306.035(b)): Outlines application processes for new marijuana establishments and renewal requirements.
  • Increased License Fees (3 AAC 306.100(d)):Adjusted annual license fees for various types of marijuana facilities.
  • Testing Oversight (3 AAC 306.640(b)):Mandates scientific directors' approval for operating procedures at testing facilities.
  • Emergency Regulations (3 AAC 306.305(a) and 3 AAC 306.310(b)):Imposed regulations on retail marijuana stores, including sales, hours, and consumption.
  • Internet/Phone Orders and Sales Limit (3 AAC 306.99 and 3 AAC 306.355):Permitted online/phone orders for physical pickup and set limits on daily sales per person.
  • Corporate Officer Residency and Administrative Holds (3 AAC 306.015(b)(4), 3 AAC 306.800(a), 3 AAC 306.830, 3 AAC 306.845(b)): Added residency requirements for corporate officers and directors and provisions for administrative holds on products.
  • Sample Regulations (3 AAC 306.460 and 3 AAC 306.557): Specified conditions for providing marijuana samples to retail stores.
  • Breastfeeding Regulations (3 AAC 306.325(a) and 3 AAC 306.712):Prohibited access for those under 21 and allowed breastfeeding mothers in designated areas.
  • Onsite Consumption-Cleanup (3 AAC 306.030, 3 AAC 306.080, 3 AAC 306.370, 3 AAC 306.990(b)): Authorized approval for onsite consumption at retail marijuana stores, subject to local laws.

These laws and amendments reflect Alaska’s ongoing efforts to regulate and refine its marijuana industry, addressing various aspects from cultivation and sales to legal and administrative considerations.

How Cannabis is Bought and Sold in Alaska

In Alaska, adults 21 and older can buy recreational marijuana exclusively from state-licensed retail stores. Purchasers need valid ID, not necessarily from Alaska, and cash is typically preferred due to federal banking restrictions on marijuana businesses. While some stores claim to accept cards, certain marijuana products like hashish and THC-containing mixes are illegal for sale and consumption.

Medical marijuana is available at retail stores, but dedicated medical-only shops are rare. Patients or their caregivers can buy with a registry ID card. Minors can't access marijuana stores or products. Consumption is limited to private spaces, not in stores or public areas.

Penalties for Marijuana-related Crimes in Alaska

In the realm of marijuana-related transgressions in Alaska, the following penalties and legal considerations come into play:

Possession

  • Possessing over the legal limit of one ounce but less than four ounces: Misdemeanor punishable by up to one year imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both.
  • Possessing four ounces or more: Felony with potential penalties of five years imprisonment, a $50,000 fine, or both.
  • Possession within 500 feet of a school or recreational center:Felony with penalties of five years imprisonment, a $50,000 fine, or both.
  • Public consumption: Violation with a $100 fine.

Possession with Intent to Distribute:

  • Less than one ounce: Misdemeanor with potential penalties of up to one year imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both.
  • One ounce or more: Felony with potential penalties of five years imprisonment, a $50,000 fine, or both.
  • Sales or delivery: Misdemeanor/Felony with imprisonment, fines, or both based on quantity and recipient's age.
  • Hashish or THC concentrates possession or distribution: Felony with varying penalties from one to 99 years imprisonment or a fine up to $100,000.

Cultivation:

  • Growing more than six plants or exceeding the limit of mature plants: Fine of up to $750.

Marijuana Consumption:

  • Public consumption: Civil fine of $100.
  • Smoking near schools/playgrounds: Severe penalties.
  • Allowed on private property with landlord's consent; employees must follow company policies.

Driving Under the Influence:

  • First DUI:$1500 fine, 90-day license suspension, 72-hour jail, mandatory ignition interlock.
  • Subsequent DUIs: Escalating fines, longer jail time, longer license suspensions, potential felony charges, and lifetime license suspension for repeated offenses.

Additional Restrictions

  • Hashish and marijuana concentrates, whether for recreational or medical use, are prohibited in Alaska.
  • Possessing any amount of hash, hashish oil, or THC concentrates may result in a misdemeanor charge, carrying penalties of up to one year in jail, a $10,000 fine, or both.
  • Having hash or concentrates on a school bus or within 500 feet of a school or youth center may lead to a Class C felony charge. First-time offenders could face up to two years in jail, while subsequent offenses may result in up to five years imprisonment.
  • Individuals under 21 must not falsify their age or identity to purchase or access marijuana establishments. Violators may face fines up to $400.
  • Those violating Alaska's marijuana trafficking laws risk forfeiting assets to law enforcement, including vehicles, homes, and cash, if linked to proceeds from controlled substance violations.

Timeline of Cannabis Laws in Alaska

Throughout the decades, Alaska's stance on marijuana has seen significant shifts:

  • 1937: Marijuana was prohibited in Alaska and across several US states.
  • 1975:Legislators in Alaska passed a law on May 16, 1975, decriminalizing cannabis. This legislation, despite lacking the Governor's signature, levied a $100 fine for simple possession. Simultaneously, the Alaska Supreme Court, in the Ravin v. State case, upheld residents' rights to possess marijuana.
  • 1982: Building upon the Ravin v. State ruling, lawmakers introduced further decriminalization bills. The updated law imposed civil fines and minimal penalties on individuals possessing up to four ounces at home and one ounce in public.
  • 1990:An attempt to recriminalize marijuana through Ballot Measure 2 passed with 54.3% of votes. It mandated a 90-day jail term and a $1000 fine for possession offenses.
  • 1998: Alaska legalized medical cannabis after over 58% of voters approved Measure 8, allowing patients with qualifying conditions to buy up to 1 ounce and grow six plants upon a physician's recommendation.
  • 2006: A legislative push sought to recriminalize cannabis. The proposed law made possession of less than four ounces without a prescription a misdemeanor, carrying penalties from 90 days to a year in jail.
  • 2014: Recreational marijuana gained legality, effective from February 25, 2015, with the passage of Measure 2. This allowed ownership of up to one ounce and cultivation of six plants. Over 53% of voters supported this measure.

Legal Cannabis and Buy Online Alternatives

Although cannabis is legal in many states, hemp-derived THC products are still rising as a noteworthy alternative thanks to their affordability and accessibility. Hemp-derived THC products are federally legal, unlike traditional marijuana products, meaning they can often be ordered online and shipped right to your door. Read “Is Delta-8 Legal? A State by State Guide to Delta-8-THC Laws” to learn more about hemp THC laws near you, then check out our Elev8 and Cloud9 Collections.

Vida Optima Hemp Delta-9-THC Gummies


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