Alaska’s marijuana laws are different from those in other states. It is legal to possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use, and you can possess up to four ounces for personal use in your own home. But, beyond this, possessing marijuana is still a crime in Alaska. The Alaska Statutes establish separate offenses for sale, delivery, cultivation, and driving under the influence of marijuana as well, and these crimes carry severe penalties. If you have been charged with any type of marijuana crime, you need to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney promptly.

What is Legal in Alaska?

Under Section 17.38.020 of the Alaska Statutes, it is legal for individuals 21 years of age and older to possess up to once ounce (approximately 28 grams) of marijuana for personal use. It is also legal to use, purchase and transport up to one ounce of marijuana anywhere in the state—with one major exception: You cannot legally use marijuana in public. Under Section 17.38.040 of the Alaska Statutes, using marijuana in public is a violation that is punishable by a fine of up to $100.

Pursuant to Section 17.38.020 of the Alaska Statutes, it is also legal to:

  • Possess, grow, process, and transport up to six marijuana plants, “with three or fewer being mature, flowering plants;”
  • Possess the marijuana produced by plants that are lawfully in your possession—provided that the marijuana must remain at the location where it was grown; and,
  • Give someone who is 21 years of age or older up to one ounce of marijuana and up to six immature marijuana plants.

Additionally, the Alaska Supreme Court has ruled that possessing up to four ounces of marijuana in your residence (for personal use) is protected by the right to privacy afforded under the Alaska Constitution. The Alaska Supreme Court has also ruled that residents can legally cultivate up to 25 plants in their homes.

Alaska also has a medical marijuana law that allows eligible patients to grow up to six plants and possess up to one ounce of marijuana for medicinal use. In order to possess and use medical marijuana, Alaska residents must obtain a Medical Marijuana Registry card from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Public Health.

What is Illegal in Alaska?

While it is legal to possess a small amount of marijuana for personal use, there are still many marijuana crimes on the books in Alaska. Many of these crimes are felony offenses that carry the potential for multiple years of imprisonment and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. In Alaska, marijuana crimes include:

  • Possession of more than an ounce (but less than four ounces) for personal use – Possessing any more than an ounce of marijuana outside of your home is a crime. As long as you don’t have four ounces or more, it is a misdemeanor offense. Misdemeanor marijuana possession is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine.
  • Possession of four or more ounces for personal use – Possessing four ounces of marijuana or more for personal use is a felony that carries up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
  • Possession of any amount within 500 feet of a school or recreation center – Possessing any amount of marijuana within 500 feet of a school or recreation center (other than in your home) is also a felony that carries up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
  • Possession of less than one ounce with intent to distribute – Possessing up to an ounce of marijuana with intent to distribute is a misdemeanor that carries up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine.
  • Possession of an ounce or more with intent to distribute – Possessing an ounce or more with intent to distribute is a felony that carries up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
  • Sale of less than an ounce (without a marijuana handler permit) – Selling less than an ounce of marijuana without a valid marijuana handler permit is a misdemeanor that carries up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine.
  • Sale of an ounce or more (without a marijuana handler permit) – Selling an ounce or more of marijuana without a valid marijuana handler permit is a felony that carries up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
  • Sale to a person under 19 years of age (any amount) – Selling marijuana to a person who is under 19 years of age and at least three years younger than the seller is a felony that carries up to a 10-year prison sentence and a $100,000 fine.
  • Cultivation of 25 or more marijuana plants – Cultivation of 25 or more marijuana plants is a felony that carries up to a five-year prison sentence and a $1,000 fine.

In addition to these crimes, it is also illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana in Alaska. Under Section 28.35.030 of the Alaska Statutes, driving under the influence of marijuana (or any other controlled substance) is subject to the same penalties as driving under the influence of alcohol. These penalties are determined based upon the defendant’s prior record (if any):

  • First-time marijuana DUI – Up to 72 hours in jail, a $1,500 fine, a 90-day driver’s license suspension, and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.
  • Second-time marijuana DUI – Up to 20 days in jail, a $3,000 fine, a one-year driver’s license suspension, and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.
  • Thirdtime marijuana DUI (after 10 years) – Up to 60 days in jail, a $4,000 fine, a three-year driver’s license suspension, and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.
  • Third-time marijuana DUI (within 10 years) – Up to 120 days in jail, a $10,000 fine, and permanent driver’s license revocation.

The penalties are even more severe for fourth and fifth-time offenders.

Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Eric Derlethin Anchorage or Soldotna, AK

Are you facing a marijuana charge in Anchorage or Soldotna? If so, it is important that you speak with an attorney right away. To schedule an appointment as soon as possible, call me at 907-262-9164 now.