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.
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Qualifying for a Medical Marijuana Card in Alaska
Once you have registered with Leafwell and been approved by one of our medical marijuana doctors online, apply to the state medical marijuana program. Receive your MMJ card and start shopping for your medical cannabis from a licensed dispensary.
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Fill out the application form and send to the Alaska Medical Marijuana Registry.
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Common conditions cannabis recommended for include
- Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease
- Seizures, including those characteristic of Epilepsy
- Severe, Chronic or Intractable Pain
- Persistent Muscle Spasms, including those that are characteristic of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Any other medical condition or treatment approved by the department or approval of a petition
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Frequently Asked Questions
Any disease or treatment that causes one or more of the following: cachexia; chronic or severe pain; severe nausea; seizures (e.g. epilepsy); persistent muscle spasms (e.g. multiple sclerosis).
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services may add other conditions at any other time
Alaska has an interesting history with regards to cannabis. In 1975, Alaska’s Supreme Court established that the right to privacy includes the possession of small amounts of marijuana. In 1982, Alaska decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis, before recriminalizing it in 1990.
Alaska’s chequered history with cannabis ought to indicate to others that it is a state that seems to have been traditionally sympathetic to cannabis legalization/decriminalization. Therefore, it should perhaps not be a surprise that Alaska adopted medical and recreational marijuana a bit sooner than many other states.
1998 – Ballot Measure 8 is approved, allowing those with a valid recommendation letter signed by a physician to legally possess, use and cultivate cannabis for personal medical use.
1999 – Senate Bill 94 is amended. This means that medical marijuana patients and their caregivers must enroll in the state’s registry and possess a valid medical marijuana card. Registry is confidential.
Patient possession limits in Alaska are the same for medical and recreational users alike – up to one ounce on their persons whilst in public.
A recreational user may Possess up to 4 ounces of marijuana in their residence.
Both medical and recreational users may cultivate up to 6 plants in their own residence, with a maximum of three mature plants.
Due to right-to-privacy laws, a person may be able to grow up to 25 plants in their own residence. Those who live within 500 feet of a school or recreation center may be able to use right-to-privacy laws if they are using cannabis within their own residence and are taking precautions with regard to their growing sites and where they use cannabis (i.e. keep it out of public view!).
However, even though there are right-to-privacy laws on the state level, federal charges may still be brought against those who are unlucky enough to be targeted as such. Therefore, it is recommended that those wanting to cultivate keep it relatively under wraps.
Distribution and sales without license is strictly prohibited. However, a person may convey less than an ounce of cannabis to anyone aged 21 or over without remuneration.
You must be aged 21 or over to apply for a medical marijuana card for yourself in Alaska. Caregivers must also be aged 21 or over in order to apply.
Those who fill out an application form for a medical marijuana card must ensure they get it right – mistakes can lead to a denial of application, and you cannot apply again for 6 months after the decision’s been made.
There is no reciprocity in Alaska, meaning medical marijuana cards from other states are not seen as valid.
Caregivers can only look after one patient at a time, unless they are simultaneously looking after other patients related to them via blood or marriage.
Hash and concentrates must be made using non-solvent methods. This means that the laws surrounding hash and concentrates in Alaska is still a little uncertain in some regards, and possession may be charged as a misdemeanor, with some incarceration time and/or a fine.
Assets like vehicles or other property may be seized in a civil proceeding.
Consuming cannabis in public is considered a violation, and can bring a fine of up to $100.
Cannabis is a Schedule VIA substance under the Alaska Controlled Substances Act. Concentrates, however, are Schedule IIIA substances.
1 ounce total of concentrate or flower. Recreational cannabis enthusiasts of Alaska have the same possession limit, although they may pay more in taxes – up to $50 per ounce of cannabis.
Alaska does not recognize other states’ medical marijuana cards, recommendations or certificates.
12 plants in a household with two adults 21+, or no limit with commercial license. A single person may grow up to 6 cannabis plants for personal use and consumption, with no more than 3 mature plants.
Patient fills in caregiver information on the application form. Caregivers must be aged 21 or over
$25 for new MMJ card applications. $20 for renewal. This does not include the cost of the physician’s consultation, which is $75.
It can take between 5 and 35 days in order to get an Alaska medical marijuana card.
Unlike many other states, you must be aged 21 years old or over in order to qualify for an Alaska medical marijuana card for yourself. Caregivers must be 21 years old or over.
It can take up to 30 days to get a physical copyof your Alaska medical marijuana card.
Telehealth/telemedicine available is available in Alaska. However, relationship must first be established between patient and physician in-person in order to qualify for a medical marijuana certificate and MMJ card.
Valid ID. Driver’s licence, passport or state-produced ID card. Out-of-state ID is not accepted.
Proof of address – bank statement, utility bill, correspondence with a state department.
Medical records – progress notes, physician’s statement/letters, medication list, medical images, official diagnosis.
Patients are required to register with the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics, Marijuana Registry
No. Cannabis is federally illegal, and this goes for qualified medical marijuana patients, too. This applies in Alaska and the rest of the US.
Women with endometriosis have lower levels of CB1 receptors in their endometrial tissue. Reduced endocannabinoid system (ECS) function may lead to growth of endometriosis and increase pain.
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