Alaskan voters chose to decriminalize marijuana and authorize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in 1998. Decriminalization means offenders no longer serve prison time or gain a criminal record for first-time marijuana offences. Instead, offenders receive punishments equivalent to those of minor traffic violations. Patients registered with the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics receive an identification card that authorizes their use, possession and cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Qualifying patients suffering from an approved condition, or their primary caregivers, may possess up to one ounce of usable marijuana and cultivate up to six plants, three mature and three immature. Approved conditions include cancer, AIDS and disorders characterized by seizures, chronic pain, muscle spasms and nausea. Other conditions are subject to the approval for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Unfortunately, the Department does not provide any information on resources for the growth, cultivation or purchase of medical marijuana.

The punishments for unlicensed offenders in Alaska are less severe compared to other states, in fact, possessing less than one ounce of usable marijuana and fewer than 25 plants in your home is protected by the Alaska Constitution’s right to privacy and receives no penalty. Possessing 1-4 oz. of marijuana is classified as a misdemeanor though exact punishment has yet to be decided by the courts. Possession of more than 4 oz. is classified as a felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a fine of $5000. The sale or cultivation of more than one ounce is also a felony.