To most Americans in the lower 48, Alaska seems like such a remote
place. It is after all our largest state by land mass with some towns
that can only be reached by plane. That might lead a person to believe
that you can get away with more in Alaska when it comes to skirting
around the law, especially with marijuana use. That is not exactly the
As far as the Alaskan courts are concerned, it is still illegal to
posses, grow or sell marijuana in large amounts. Large in this case is
defined as anything over a single ounce. Based on recent DEA
statistics, over 26,000 pounds of pot was grown in Alaska last year.
That carries with it a street value of upwards of $205 million. Amounts
like that are going to keep law officials busy. However, like many
other states there are exceptions for medical marijuana use.
Alaska Medical Marijuana Laws
Think what you will about Alaskan politics, when it comes to medical
marijuana the state is actually quite progressive. Alaska passed their
own version of medical marijuana use exceptions in 1998. According to
the law, a person who is suffering from chronic pain, AIDS related
symptoms, seizures, cancer, nausea or any other type of disorder which
marijuana use can alleviate is allowed to possess and use pot.
The restrictions for medical marijuana use start with the stipulation
that the user must have proper documentation from a certified medical
marijuana distributer or doctor. Typically this is a form of ID card
which states that the person can possess less than one ounce of
marijuana. The prescribed user is also permitted to grow at least six
of their own plants with only three being mature at one time.
Prescribed users are also exempt from having marijuana in their
possession within 500 feet of a school.
Alaska Non-Medical Marijuana Users
A small amount of marijuana can be used by a person in their home. For
a person who has less than an ounce of marijuana there is no crime or
penalty. However, this decriminalization is currently being challenged
in the Alaska courts. Even with these form of leniency, it is still
illegal for any non-medical users to sell or grow pot.
Alaska Marijuana Penalties
Possession of one to four ounces of marijuana in Alaska is considered a
misdemeanor. If found guilty of this charge, a person can face up to 90
days in jail and a $1,000 fine. With possession of more than four
ounces or 25 plants, the crime is elevated to a felony. That comes with
up to five years in jail and a $50,000 fine.
When it comes to growing marijuana, cultivating any time of grow house
for the purpose of distribution is considered a felony and comes with a
possible jail sentence of up to five years along with a possible
The sale of less than an ounce of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor
in Alaska with a penalty of up to one year in jail and $1,000 fine. For
selling amounts over a single ounce you can face up to five years in
jail with a $50,000 fine.