Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"
Q. What is the law about marijuana? Am I allowed to have any in the privacy of my home? Can I have any plants? Can it be legally sold or bought for medical uses in Alaska? Medical marijuana is in the media consistently, but I am unsure what the laws are here. Is there a way for a recreational user who may only smoke once or twice a month to do so legally? Thanks!
Dear Juneau Resident,
There is no way to smoke marijuana legally in the United States because federal law makes its possession, in any amount, illegal.
States may decide to have criminal consequences only in certain cases but state laws canít trump federal laws or shield a resident from federal prosecution.
As far as understanding Alaska law, JPDís drug unit weighed in to help answer that question. There is no statute saying you can possess marijuana, it's just that there are no criminal penalties for possession of less than four ounces (plant or dried) in your home. The original case that addressed the issue in Alaska was Ravin v. State in 1975. That decision was later overturned, and possession of any usable amount of marijuana was given criminal consequences in Alaska in 1990. The law remained this way until Noy v. State in 2003 when the Alaska Court of Appeals reaffirmed the 1975 Ravin decision of the Alaska Supreme Court. The state does maintain that marijuana on your person in public or in your car is illegal and there are penalties for any amount.
The state does have a registry for medical marijuana use:
Alaska Statute 11.71.090 addresses medical marijuana use in detail.