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The Legal Status of Cannabis in Alaska

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Both medical and recreational cannabis is legal in Alaska. However, there are some restrictions. Cannabis in Alaska was legalized by measure 2 Alaska and it became one of the first states to have both medical and recreational cannabis legally. We will first discuss the legalization of medical use.

This state got its Medical legalization in 1998 by the passing of Measure 8 by a 58.7% vote. This measure allowed for possession of up to 1 ounce (28 g) by patients who had a doctor’s recommendation. They were also allowed to grow six plants.

Though the legal state of recreational marijuana allows one to self-treat medical conditions, acquiring a medical card will ensure that you do not pay tax on your prescriptions. The qualifying health conditions covered for this state are:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Severe pain
  • Seizures
  • Severe nausea
  • Cachexia/Wasting syndrome
  • Persistent muscle spasms
  • Multiple sclerosis

The state of Alaska has also legalized cannabis for recreational use.

Cannabis in Alaska was legalized by measure 2 in Alaska and it became one of the first states to have both medical and recreational cannabis legally.

Below is a brief history of how this came to be:

Alaska became the U.S’s second state to decriminalize cannabis On May 16, 1975. A $100 fine was imposed for the possession of small amounts of cannabis, which is equivalent in 2021 to $500. Just before the Ravin Ruling, this became law.

Ravin v. State (1975): This was an Alaska Supreme Court decision that held that the Alaska constitution’s right to privacy protected the ability of an adult to possess and use small amounts of cannabis in their homes for personal use. Thus the Alaskan Supreme Court came to be the first federal court or U.S court to allow for a constitutional right in privacy-protecting some level of cannabis possession and use.

Decriminalization (1982): Following the Ravin decision in 1982, possession of not more than 4 oz. (110 g) of marijuana in the home and 1 oz. (28g) outside the home was decriminalized by the state legislature.

Recriminalization (1990): Measure 2 in 1990 for the recriminalizing of cannabis was passed with a 54.3% vote. This measure imposed a 90-day jail term or a maximum $1000 fine penalty for simple possession.

In 1990, Measure 2 to recriminalize cannabis passed with 54.3% of the vote. The measure imposed a penalty of up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1000 for simple possession.

Medical legalization (1998):  Measure 8 which legalized cannabis for medical used was passed in 1998 by a 58.7% vote. This measure allowed for the possession of up to 1 oz (28g) and growing of up to six plants by a patient who has a doctor's recommendation.

Failed recreational legalization in 2000: Measure 5 for the legalization of recreational cannabis failed by a vote of 40.9%.

Noy vs State (2003): This case was decided by a jury in the Alaska Court of Appeals in which David S. Noy got convicted for the possession of less than 230 g (8 oz) of marijuana. However, based on the 1975 Ravin v. State ruling stipulating that the possession of below 4 ounces (110 g) was protected under the privacy clause, the appeal was considered. The issue that came into question at the appeal was that it was above the stipulated 4 ounces but the court of appeals overturned it striking down the criminalized possession of cannabis.

Failed recreational legalization (2004):  Measure 2 for the legalization of recreational cannabis failed by a 44.3% vote in 2004.

Recriminalization (2006): A new law rendering the possession of less than 1 oz. (28g) a misdemeanor that could be punished by a jail sentence of not more than 90 days was passed by the state legislature. Possessing between 1-4 oz (28-113g) also became a felony.

Recreational legalization (2014): Finally in 2004 Measure 2 legalizing cannabis for recreational use was passed with a 53.2% vote. This measure which came into effect on February 24, 2015, allows the possession of up to 1 oz. like the original allowance and also permits the cultivation of six plants

Passing Measure 2 placed Alaska as the third state to legalize the recreational sale and use of cannabis preceded by Washington and Colorado in 2012.


The sale of cannabis is rife in this state with 20% of this state’s wholesale market being attributed to the tourist market.


Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.