Simple Guide For Alaska’s Legal Marijuana

This summer will be the third tourist season in Alaska with cannabis businesses open. Here’s what to anticipate, do, and avoid if you’re visiting the state.

What you can do to help

Anyone over the age of 21 can purchase and possess up to an ounce of marijuana. You can freely give and receive up to an ounce.

However, there are still some sites in the state where marijuana is not permitted, such as national parks and private land.

The dirt about retail establishments

Cannabis dispensaries have opened in a number of Alaskan cities, including Fairbanks, Anchorage, Juneau, and Sitka.

Businesses in Alaska are required by law to check your identification. Some people double-check it. Each business is unique, but buy weed online will be available behind the counter, and a budtender can assist you in selecting what you desire. The product can be smelled and examined but not touched. In the past year, Alaska has seen a boom of goods, so you may select from edibles to capsules, topicals, and plain old flower, which is still a best-seller in stores.

The majority of stores keep their current menus online, with pricing for grams ranging from $10 to $20. It’s a cash-only situation. There are ATMs at some stores. Budtenders enjoy receiving tips.

Although the state does not keep track of customer information, some businesses have an in-house point of sale system with customer appreciation incentives that asks for your name and other personal information.

Driving under the influence of marijuana

There are no state laws requiring you to transport marijuana in a specific manner in your vehicle.

The law in Anchorage states that marijuana must be kept in the trunk of your automobile. If your vehicle does not have a trunk (such as a hatchback), it must be parked behind the last row of seats. It’s required to be in a sealed container that hasn’t been opened, according to local legislation.

You could get a DUI if you get stoned and drive. The Alaska State Troopers and the Anchorage Police Department both stated that conventional field sobriety tests are used to determine whether a person is intoxicated. According to Anchorage police, if drug impairment is detected, a drug recognition officer will be dispatched to conduct additional investigation.

Marijuana plants at an Anchorage agricultural facility. (ADN/Loren Holmes)

Taking the plane

Pilots who knowingly bring marijuana on a flight risk losing their license, according to federal law. Marijuana is not permitted on board, in carry-on or checked luggage, according to Alaska Airlines. A similar policy is followed by smaller carriers.

However, for years, airport police in Anchorage and Fairbanks have allowed small amounts of marijuana to pass through security checkpoints. Officers at the airport execute state legislation, which allows for the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis. Employees of the Transportation Security Administration will notify the police, who will perform a field interview and keep a record of the encounter. Most of the time, police will let travelers pass through the checkpoint with cannabis in their possession.

The Juneau Police Department is taking a hands-off attitude, leaving it to the discretion of the Transportation Security Administration. They won’t take your marijuana, but TSA may ask you to leave it behind, according to JPD Lt. David Campbell.

Federal law enforcement can also obtain documents from local police and consider pursuing charges because cannabis is still banned on the federal level.

So, while local police may not stop you if you fly with marijuana, you’re still taking a risk.

Cruise ships and Alaska’s ferry system

The United States Coast Guard is in charge of law enforcement on federal waterways, which include those used by Alaska’s ferries and cruise ships.

“Marijuana use is unlawful on a federal level,” said Brian Dykens, an Alaska Coast Guard spokesperson. “The Coast Guard can seize marijuana on federal waterways, issue a civil penalty, and/or pursue criminal prosecution under federal law as a federal law enforcement agency.”

According to Shannon McCarthy, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, the Alaska Marine Highway System, which includes popular Southeast ferry routes, isn’t aggressively looking for persons transporting marijuana.

McCarthy said that if crew members find someone with less than an ounce of marijuana, they are usually advised to put it away, while anyone with more than an ounce is reported to law enforcement.

According to Ralph Samuels, vice president of government and community relations for cruise ship operator Holland America Group, ships comply with federal law and do not allow marijuana on board.

According to Samuels, Holland America warns passengers of what is and is not permitted on board once they book a cruise, and marijuana shops in Juneau are required to display notice informing consumers that they are not permitted to bring the product on board a ship or plane.

Passengers join the cruise ship through a metal detector and their baggage are X-rayed, much like they would at an airport.

“If someone had a bag of marijuana, we’d take it,” Samuels stated “I’m not sure if that’s a pot cookie. I’m not sure about the edibles.”

Public smoking is prohibited.

Public consumption is illegal in Alaska, and if you’re caught, you might face a fine of up to $100.

Tourists, like residents of other states, face a dilemma: if you can’t smoke in public but don’t have a place to go, where can you lawfully smoke pot?

The state Marijuana Control Board voted in December 2018 to enable existing marijuana stores to set up places where customers can use cannabis purchased at their store, making Alaska the first state to solve this dilemma with statewide regulations “In April, the new rules will take effect. According to the authorities, the first of these on-site consumption areas might open in mid-July.

The fine for public consumption is a citation, like to a traffic ticket, rather than a criminal prosecution. According to Anchorage police, 12 public consumption penalties were issued in 2018, with three more issued for drinking outside, adjacent to a public venue, without the property owner’s permission.

Hotels

In a 2018 interview, Erika McConnell, head of the state’s Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office, said hotel rooms are considered private property, and municipal authorities in any given area would determine what’s allowed.

Because many hotels have no-smoking regulations, smoking marijuana is prohibited.

Your best bet is to ask your Airbnb host or a hotel or other lodging’s personnel.

National parks are places where people can go to relax and

Federal parks and preserves cover 54 million acres in Alaska. However, it is illegal to carry and use marijuana on these vast swaths of federal land.

According to Peter Christian, a spokesman for the National Park Service, if you’re discovered carrying marijuana, you could face a federal penalty, which is usually a misdemeanor.

According to Christian, there were five marijuana possession citations issued in Denali National Park and Preserve in 2018.

Cannabis possession is also illegal on other federal sites, according to Christian, including national wildlife refuges, Bureau of Land Management, and National Forest Service lands.

Marijuana for medical use

If you have a medical marijuana card, it won’t get you very far in most dispensaries. In 1998, Alaska became one of the first states to legalize medical marijuana, but the state’s statutes prohibit dispensaries. To the dismay of some medical marijuana users, when recreational marijuana was legalized in 2014, a distinct medical system was not formed. Medical costs and rules, regulators believed, would undermine the general commercial sector if a dual system was established.

Although no state laws explicitly prohibit discounts for medical cardholders, shops normally do not provide these reductions. It’s considered as a legal murky area, partly because retailers aren’t authorized to provide clients medical advice. The state will almost certainly need to clarify the situation.

Clubs that sell marijuana and delivery services

Marijuana delivery is illegal in Alaska, so you’ll have to go to a store to buy it.

The Marijuana Control Board approved in December 2018 to allow “on-site use,” which will take effect in April 2019. Alaska is the first state to enact legislation governing such areas. Existing marijuana shops can apply for approval to open a consumption area where customers can consume cannabis purchased from them. However, businesses must still present their development plans to the board, and the first of these on-site consumption spaces is expected to open in mid-July, according to the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office.

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