Did you know that Rhode Island and Michigan accept Alaska medical marijuana cards?
Did you know you’re entitled to grow your own marijuana in Alaska but only if you have a medical marijuana card?
Did you know that Alaska was the first U.S. state to allow social consumption venues?
Did you know that marijuana was decriminalized and then recriminalized, not once, but twice in the past 25 years?
We’ll cover all that and more in this step-by-step primer on how to get your very own medical marijuana card in the state of Alaska.
Alaska Medical Marijuana Overview
Alaska’s marijuana laws have been through hell and back over the past 100 years. It’s really a long story and a great topic for a future article, but it is of interest here. So here are the highlights:
● 1972 – Irwin Ravin, the grandfather of the Alaska marijuana reform movement, was arrested for possession of marijuana.
● 1975 – Alaska Legislature votes to decriminalize one ounce or less in public, and any amount in the privacy of one’s own home. Punishment reduced to a $100 fine.
● 1975 – Alaska Supreme Court deems possession of marijuana constitutionally protected.
● 1982 – Alaska Legislature abolishes $100 fine.
● 1989 – Petition launch to re-criminalize marijuana.
● 1990 – Voter initiative passes, making all possession illegal again. Punishment becomes up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
● 1998 – Medical marijuana became legal. Patients allowed to possess up to an ounce or up to six plants.
● 2000 – Another petition launched to re-decriminalize marijuana. Voters reject the initiative.
● 2004 – Another initiative fails.
● 2006 – Former Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski makes possession of one to four ounces of pot punishable by up to one year in prison.
● 2013 – The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana gathered more than 45,000 signatures for another ballot measure.
● 2014 – Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell approves voter initiative to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana.
● 2014 – Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, receives a cash infusion of over $200,000 dollars for “aggressive campaign” including print, television and radio ads.
● 2014 – Alaska Measure 2 “An Act to tax and regulate the production, sale, and use of marijuana” is approved by voters.
● 2015 – Alaska becomes the third state to legalize recreational marijuana for those 21 and older.
Alaska Marijuana Laws
Before we get into the details of Alaska’s medical marijuana laws, it’s important to take a look at the state’s marijuana laws in general. We want to keep you out of trouble. Marijuana is considered a Schedule VIA in Alaska. However, THC, hash, and hash oil are Schedule IIIA substances. And penalties, should you run afoul of the law, are seriously harsh.
Here are some more bits of information that are of importance:
● Limits – Adults may possess up to one ounce of marijuana and/or to grow up to six marijuana plants (no more than three mature) for non-commercial purposes. However, in the confines of your own private residence, you are allowed to possess up to four ounces and grow up to 25 plants under the Alaskan constitutional right to privacy. Possession of up to 3 grams of hash or concentrates is permitted.
● Growing – Adults 21 and older are permitted to grow up to six marijuana plants with no more than three mature plants at a time. All plants must be out of view of the public and secured.
● Sharing – Sharing or gifting to persons at least 21 years of age is permitted up 1 ounce or 6 plants.
● Public consumption – Using cannabis in public is illegal and punishable by a fine of up to $100.
● Possession penalties – If you go over the legal limit these are the penalties:
○ Possession of from 1 to 4 ounces of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in prison and/or a fine up to a $10,000 fine.
○ Possession of 4 or more ounces of marijuana is punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or up to a $50,000 fine.
○ Possessing less than 3 grams of hashish or concentrate is punishable by up to one year in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
○ Possessing more than three grams or more of hashish or concentrate is punishable by up to 2 years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine.
○ Possession within 500 feet of school grounds, a recreation or youth center, or on a school bus is a class C felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $50,000.
● Growing penalties – these are the penalties for exceeding grow limits:
○ Growing more than six plants or more than three mature plants outside your residence is punishable by up to a $750 fine.
○ Growing 25 plants or more is punishable by up to g years in prison and/or up to a $50,000 fine.
● Selling marijuana – Selling, or even intending to sell marijuana without a state license is punishable by up to 1 year in prison and/or a fine up to a $10,000 fine. If it involves an ounce or more it’s a class C felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or up to a $50,000 fine.
● Selling marijuana to minors – Selling marijuana to anyone under the age of 19 is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine up to $100,000.
● Drugged driving – Driving while intoxicated whether it’s alcohol or marijuana or anything else can result in the revocation of you driver’s license.
Within 60 days of rendering judgment, a judge may suspend the sentence or part of the sentence and put you on probation.
Alaska Medical Marijuana Laws
● Alaska Dispensaries – Both medical and recreational marijuana users in Alaska can purchase marijuana from the same dispensaries.
● Medical marijuana cards – You must possess the original medical marijuana card to have the legal protections associated with it. A copy of the card is not valid.
● Doctors – Patients are required to have a legitimate, ongoing physician-patient relationship.
Alaska Medical Marijuana Qualifying Conditions
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How to Get Your Alaska Medical Marijuana Card
Obtaining a medical marijuana card in Alaska is a fairly straight forward process, but if you botch your application you will not be allowed to apply again for another six months, so pay attention to the details.
Here’s how to get a medical marijuana card in Alaska:
1. Get your application packet – In order to get your medical marijuana card you’ll need to submit an application and some required documents such as proof of residency. Here’s a link to the Medical Marijuana Application Packet.
2. Obtain medical records – Patients are required to possess legitimate medical records or documentation from their primary care physician describing the diagnosis of their qualifying condition.
3. Get a signed Physician’s Statement – Have your doctor fill out the Physician’s Statement. It must be included with your application.
4. Register as a medical marijuana patient – Next you’ll need to register with the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics. Instructions come with your application packet.
5. Pay the man – There is a $25 application fee to get a medical marijuana card. There’s also a yearly renewal fee of $20. You can pay in the form of a money order or check payable to the Bureau of Vital Statistics. It must be included with the submission of your application.
6. Double check everything – Prior to mailing the application, be sure to review and ensure that all required information has been completed. If the marijuana card application is not complete, it will be denied and you will not be allowed to reapply for a period of six months.
7. Send in your application – Once you’re sure that your application is complete and correct, send it to this address:
Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 110699
Juneau, AK 99811-0699
That’s it! You’re done. And now you wait. The state should get back to you within a reasonable amount of time with an answer.
Where to Buy Medical Marijuana in Alaska
Marijuana may only be purchased at state-licensed dispensaries in Alaska. Most of the dispensaries are in the more heavily populated cities such as Juneau, Gnome, Anchorage, and Fairbanks. And, obviously, you need to present evidence that you’re 21 or older, or you’ll need your medical card.
You’ll be able to find a wide variety of products at your local dispensary including bud, hash, oils, tinctures, edibles, skin creams and so forth. Many dispensaries also sell CBD products.