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.