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 case.
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 $50,000 fine.
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.