Medical Marijuana in Alaska

Alaska is one of the very few states where the recreational use, possession, and growing of marijuana are legal. Alaska Measure 2 (2014), effective since February 24, 2015, allows legal adults (aged 21 and older) to possess up to one ounce of marijuana.

The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is governed by the Alaska Medical Marijuana Act. Patients and their caregivers (both primary and alternate) who are registered with the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics are allowed to possess and grow marijuana for medicinal purposes. Let’s take a closer look at the status of medical marijuana in Alaska.

2024 Update! Go to the end of this article for the current legal position for the use of and possession of Cannabis in Alabama at the start of 2024.


Marijuana and cannabis have had a turbulent history in Alaska. Back in 1975, marijuana was first decriminalized in the state, making Alaska the second state in the U.S. to do so. The law stipulated a $100 fine for the possession of marijuana.

Alaska Medical Marijuana Act

A week after the law passed, the Alaska Supreme court ruled in Ravin v. State that it was legal to possess a small amount of marijuana. The ruling made Alaska the first state in the country to protect the possession and use of marijuana at the constitutional level.

Seven years later, in 1982, Alaska decriminalized the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana outside of the home and up to four ounces at home. The recriminalization of marijuana came in 1990 with the Alaska Measure 2 ballot measure.

Thirteen years later, the recriminalization was struck down. In Noy v. State, the Alaska Court of Appeals overturned Noy’s conviction for possessing between four and eight ounces of marijuana.

Marijuana was recriminalized again in 2006. The law stipulated that marijuana possession of less than one ounce would be punished by up to 90 days in prison. The possession of one to four ounces was punishable by up to one year in prison, while the possession of over four ounces constituted a felony.

Finally, in 2014, following the successful Alaska Measure 2 (2014) ballot, marijuana was legalized for recreational purposes in Alaska. This made Alaska the third state to do so, after Washington and Colorado.

Alaska Medical Marijuana Card

In order to track the use of medical marijuana in Alaska, the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics issues medical marijuana cards to patients who qualify, as well as their primary and alternate caregivers. With a valid medical marijuana card, a person can obtain, possess, use, and transport marijuana for medicinal purposes.

After registering, patients and caregivers become eligible to purchase, possess, and use medical marijuana. Additionally, they are granted access to clubs and dispensaries across the state where they can obtain marijuana.

The Alaska medical marijuana card allows registered patients and their caregivers to travel across the state with the substance. Moreover, having the card allows patients and caregivers to grow their own marijuana. The law stipulates that a registered person can have up to six plants (only three in mature state), as well as up to one ounce of usable marijuana. If a person violates the limits, they could be prohibited from using and obtaining the card for a period of one year.

How to Obtain the Card

There are several conditions an individual must fulfill in order to obtain the medical marijuana card and become eligible to use medical marijuana in Alaska. These include their physician’s recommendation, a proper diagnose, and registration with the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics.

use of medical marijuana in Alaska

Physician’s recommendation

A patient needs to obtain their doctor’s recommendation/written statement to become eligible for the card.

A proper diagnosis

A patient must be diagnosed with a debilitating condition. The list of conditions includes HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, as well as diseases which produce one of the following conditions: seizures (including epileptic seizures), severe nausea, severe pain, chronic pain, muscle spasms, cachexia, and symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Registration with the bureau

The final step is to register with the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics. An applicant must submit a properly filled out application. Also, each applicant must submit their medical records and documentation which prove their eligibility. If an applicant is a minor, a written statement from a parent or a legal guardian is also required.

Once approved and issued, the card has to be renewed every year. The renewal requires the same documentation as the original registration, including an updated physician’s recommendation. If the renewal is rejected, the person will have to apply again as if they were applying for the first time.


The status of medical marijuana in Alaska has largely improved over the last several years, together with the status of marijuana and cannabis in general. The Alaska Measure 2 ballot of 2014 legalized the recreational use of marijuana in Alaska, making it the third U.S. state to legalize it.

The patients and their caregivers must register with the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics to legally obtain, use, and transport marijuana for medicinal purposes. The registered patients and caregivers have access to marijuana dispensaries and clubs across the state. Also, they are allowed to grow marijuana in small quantities as stipulated by state law.

Update: 2024

Penalties for Personal Possession and Use

You can go to the NORML website for restrictions and penalties applying to trafficking, sales or non-personal use. The following information concerns personal use and possession:

As at January 2024, NORML state on their site that legally “adults may possess up to one ounce of marijuana and/or to grow up to six marijuana plants (no more than three mature) for non-commercial purposes. Sharing or gifting 1 ounce or less, or 6 plants or less for personal use to persons at least 21 years of age is also permitted, however the consumption of cannabis in public remains an offense and is punishable by a fine of up to $100.”

If in possession over more than one ounce then: “Possession of 1 to less than 4 ounces is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000. However, if the use, display, or possession was for personal use and occurred in the confines of the offender’s private residence, there is no penalty and this act is protected under the Alaskan constitutional right to privacy.” So this means that if you have more than an ounce in your own home, then there is no misdemeanor, which should only apply to possession and consumption in a public area.


According to the NORML website: “Adults may possess up to one ounce of marijuana and/or to grow up to six marijuana plants (no more than three mature) for non-commercial purposes. Up to 12 plants (6 or fewer mature) is allowed in a single dwelling (regardless of number of persons living there). 

Cultivation shall be in a location where plants are not subject to public view without use of binoculars, aircraft, or other optical aids. One must take reasonable precautions to ensure the plants are secure from unauthorized access. 

Cultivation of less than 25 plants of marijuana for personal use in a private residence is protected under the right to privacy of the Alaska constitution.”

Concentrates, Hashish and Hashish Oil

According to the NORML website: “Hashish, hashish oil, and any other compound, mixture, or preparation containing THC is a Schedule IIIA substance. Possessing any amount of hashish or hashish oil is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and a sentence of up to 1 year.”

New Conclusion, 2024

In short, Alaska has some relaxed points with their legal approach to the personal possession and use of small amounts of cannabis, up to 1oz, but not a THC bearing concentrate, such as “hashish oil”. So, vaping or smoking your favorite MJ at home is ok, but not in the woods or a public area, like a bar or club.  if you only have an ounce or less on you and also grow a small amount of plants at home for personal use, then you are within the law.

The state has an interesting caveat attached to being booked for a felony in that having more than an 1 oz to 4 oz for personal use in a private home is protected against conviction:  “there is no penalty and this act is protected under the Alaskan constitutional right to privacy”. However, more than 4 oz and this protection does not then apply, with a “class C felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $50,000” being possible, regardless of being in a private home. 

Medical use cannabis products and marijuana is protected where “this state has medical marijuana laws enacted.”

So, in brief, use of cannabis in small amounts (up to 4oz) in a private home is legal and protected, but not THC concentrates. Growing you own plants is permitted, as long as they are not visible with up to 12 plants in a residence but you can possibly get away with 24 plants, but only a maximum of 3 mature plants per person, or 6 mature plants for the whole residence.

Use for medical purposes is supported and protected we advise checking with your MD about what cannabis products for a prescribed condition can be used, and how much can be carried with an appropriate medical permission card.

As always, check with your state or municipal office to be sure you are ok with the law and go to NORML for a more detailed list of what is legal.  If planning to visit Alaska, make sure you do not carry more than the legal amount of 1 oz of an approved  cannabis product on you at anyone time.

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  1. I truly appreciate this post. Nice to see Alaska mentioned! You’ve made my day! Thanks again

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