Is marijuana legal in Alaska? The answer to that question my friends is a resounding yes! Marijuana was legalized in 2014 and has had a roaring trade ever since, both from locals and tourists. Alaska has had a very odd relationship with marijuana legalization over the last 50 years, but now they seem to have settled on a system that works.
Alaska is also one of the most beautiful states to visit. If you love weed and the cold, Alaska should definitely be on your travel list. They welcome weed tourists along with all visitors. There is quite a lot of fascinating information about Alaska and marijuana, especially when it comes to its history and the peculiar journey to legalization. Let’s explore it.
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Marijuana Laws in Alaska
Marijuana is legal for adults 21 and over in Alaska. Much like alcohol, it is illegal to buy it for anyone underage. You are free to use cannabis in specific weed shops or on private property but it is very much illegal to smoke in public. Like the rest of the country, it is illegal to even possess it on federal land like national parks. The laws can change depending on the area of Alaska, and it is always a good idea to check local laws before visiting. Another slightly obvious law is that you cannot operate a vehicle or heavy machinery while stoned. That should hopefully be common sense.
My favorite aspect of Alaska’s legalization is growing your own cannabis. It is legal to have as many as 6 cannabis plants in your home, provided only three are mature. There was however a Supreme Court ruling that possession at home is protected by the state’s right-to-privacy section in the constitution. But to be on the safe side, don’t go over 6 plants.
It is completely legal for employers to enforce zero-tolerance cannabis policies. Unfortunately this is pretty standard across the country. If you sometimes enjoy a spliff after work in Alaska, better check your employment contract just in case.
Alaska Weed History
Since the plant was first introduced in the US, the laws surrounding it have continuously fluctuated. Alaska, in particular, has a bit of a weird history with the drug. In 1975 Alaska’s peculiar relationship with cannabis began when a man named Irwin Ravin refused to sign a ticket he was given for possession of marijuana. Ravin insisted that the state had violated his privacy, and thus began the famous case of Ravin vs State.
During this case, Ravin argued that the state had no cause to prohibit the possession of marijuana amongst adults. He also argued that cannabis being classified as a dangerous drug, while tobacco and alcohol were not, denied him due process and equal protection of the law. Basically he thought it was completely stupid and wasn’t having any of it.
As Alaskans are very fond of privacy (or so I’m told) a law was passed that it was constitutional to use cannabis in the privacy of your home. Later that year the state decriminalized cannabis. In 1982 residents were permitted to store 4 ounces at home and to carry one ounce in public, after the state increased limits.
Unfortunately though, all good things come to an end. Or at least they did for a bit. The possession of cannabis was criminalized once more in the 90’s, but luckily it didn’t last and in 2014 weed was fully legalized. Medicinal marijuana in Alaska has had a similarly turbulent past.
Medical Marijuana in Alaska
Medicinal marijuana is a slightly different story and was legalized in 1998. All was well until 2006 when the anti-marijuana movement re-criminalized medicinal cannabis. It was not re-legalized again until the full legalization in 2014.
Iceland Marijuana Laws
Now marijuana in Alaska is completely legal for both medicinal and recreational use. If you are a medicinal user and require cannabis for a serious condition or illness, you can apply for a medical marijuana card. These cards allow patients to receive tax breaks on their cannabis, which means it is much cheaper for them to purchase their medication. Unfortunately, it doesn’t give them access to stronger products as it would in other states.
In order to receive one of these cards you must be an Alaskan resident, need to visit a physician, and register with the Division of Public Health. These cards are available to those suffering from:
- Severe Pain
- Severe Nausea
- Cachexia/Wasting Syndrome
- Muscle Spasms
- Multiple Sclerosis
Essentially with cannabis being completely legal, it’s not totally necessary to purchase a Medical Marijuana Card but it can save patients a good deal of money.
Weed Tourism in Alaska
Alaska is one of the most picturesque North American states. It’s one of the most northern states full stop, so is obviously freezing cold for a large part of the year, but still achingly beautiful. In Alaska, you can see some of the most incredible vistas, a plethora of fascinating wildlife, and now you can also freely smoke weed. Basically a perfect holiday if you share my twin passions of being both very high and very cold.
As a tourist in Alaska, you can visit one of the many headshops, as long as you are over the age of 21. The law does require that these shops check your age so make sure you have your ID. You can smoke in some of the shops, but the use of marijuana in public is strictly prohibited in all forms, not just smoking. You are completely permitted to buy cannabis in Alaska and can carry up to an ounce on your person though. If you are a tourist it is always best to double-check the local laws. It also might be a good idea to check which part of Alaska would be best for your trip, keeping in mind any seasonal changes.
Have you gotten high in Alaska before? What did you think? It’s interesting to see such a generally conservative state with such liberal cannabis laws. Unfortunately, the residents of Maryland don’t enjoy the same freedom as Alaskan’s, despite their generally liberal views.