Getting an Alaska Medical Card

Updated on November 18, 2021.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Alaska

The state of Alaska was the second in America to attempt to decriminalize cannabis back in 1975. In almost fifty years, lawmakers in Alaska have been back and forth over cannabis legalization. They have passed laws to decriminalize and then recriminalize possession of marijuana. 

Today, Alaska has both a legalized medical cannabis program and an adult-use program. That means anyone over the age of twenty-one (21) years can legally buy, possess and consume marijuana in Alaska. 

Medical Marijuana in AK (2021 Update)

During the summer session of 2021, the Alaska House of Representatives and Senate voted to increase the potency of cannabis concentrates available for consumers. The new law will take effect on September 1, 2021. The Alaska Marijuana Control Board now permits edibles to contain up to 10mg of THC per serving. That means that a package of edibles sold to a consumer or patient can now have between 50 to 100 milligrams of THC in each package. The new maximum potency is double the 5mg limit previously established. 

Cannabis manufacturers in Alaska will be allowed a maximum variance of 20% in the potency for the edibles they produce. The newly amended regulations require that edibles be third-party lab tested for THC content at regular batch intervals. And the test results will be provided to the Alaska Marijuana Control Board. 

FAQs

Who qualifies for medical marijuana in Alaska?

Patients aged eighteen (18) years and older with an eligible health condition can apply to have a medical marijuana card in Alaska. Residents of Alaska who are twenty-one (21) years of age or older can purchase cannabis for adult use from recreational dispensaries. 

To get an Alaska medical card, you must be diagnosed with at least one of the qualifying health conditions. You must also have a recent or updated diagnosis from a physician who has met you personally (in-office) within the last sixteen (16) months. 

The qualifying health conditions for medical marijuana in Alaska are:

  • Positive status HIV/AIDS
  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Severe chronic pain
  • Seizures
  • Severe nausea 
  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Persistent muscle spasms
  • Multiple sclerosis

It is important to note that if a patient’s medical condition changes or resolves, the patient is legally required to surrender the medical card. This must be done within ten days of the change in diagnosis. In Alaska, whether you are a medical card holder patient or a recreational user, you are legally permitted to gift one ounce of cannabis. You can also receive a gift of one ounce of cannabis from someone else. As long as there is no money exchanged (illegal sale), your right to share cannabis with other adults over the age of 21 is protected by law. 

What medical marijuanas are available in AK?

Because Alaska legalized adult-use (recreational) cannabis, all types of marijuana are available from licensed dispensaries. This includes vape oils, tinctures (drops), whole flower (smokable), concentrates, capsules and tablets, and edibles. 

Some of the most popular strains of cannabis in Alaska include:

  • AK Cookies 
  • Bam Bam 
  • Birthday Cake
  • Cheese
  • A-Train
  • White Widow
  • Ace of Spades
  • Alaskan Ice

Residents of Alaska will be able to purchase edibles with up to 10mg of THC per serving, effective September 1, 2021. You can also legally cultivate up to six marijuana plants at home. 

How old do you have to be to get an Alaska medical card?

To get an Alaska medical marijuana card, you need to be at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time of application. You also have to have at least one of the qualifying health conditions. 

Parental consent is not required for patients eighteen years of age or older. A registered caregiver must assist minors with health conditions. Caregiver’s in Alaska must be twenty-one (21) years of age or older, without a criminal record, and a legal guardian of the patient requiring assistance.

Do I need to create my own MMJ patient profile?

Yes. After you have completed your medical card health evaluation, the doctor will decide if medical marijuana can help. And whether medical cannabis is safe for you to use, depending on your current health status, prescription medications, and other factors. 

If the physician agrees, the doctor will provide a letter of certification. This letter and other documents (including proof of residency in Alaska) are used by the patient to complete the application process. 

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is in charge of the Medical Marijuana Registry and the application process. Both patient and caregiver application forms are available in one document. 

Can I register my child for medical marijuana?

Yes, if you are the minor’s legal guardian, you can register your child for medical marijuana in Alaska. The child must have one of the qualifying health conditions to be eligible to apply. The patient (minor) is registered first in the Alaska MMJ program, and then the caregiver can become registered to assist that patient. 

In Alaska, a caregiver must be aged twenty-one (21) or older. The caregiver must not have a prior felony conviction for a controlled substance offense. 

A caregiver for the medical marijuana program in Alaska may only be the primary or secondary provider for one patient at a time. The only exception to this rule is if the caregiver is caring for two or more patients who are blood relatives (or at least the fourth degree of kinship by blood or marriage).

The fee to register as a patient (including registering a minor) for the Alaska medical marijuana program is $25 per year. And there is a $20 annual renewal fee for each medical cardholder. 

How can I become a caregiver for MMJ in Alaska?

In Alaska, a caregiver must be aged twenty-one (21) or older. The caregiver must not have a prior felony conviction for a controlled substance offense. A criminal background check is required as part of the application process.

A caregiver for the medical marijuana program in Alaska may only be the primary or secondary provider for one patient at a time. The only exception to this rule is if the caregiver is caring for two or more patients who are blood relatives (or at least the fourth degree of kinship by blood or marriage).

How do I renew my Alaska medical card?

The Alaska medical marijuana card is good for one year. Prior to expiration, it is the patient’s responsibility to make sure that they renew their Alaska medical card. It costs $20 per year to renew your medical card. 

Patients must also complete a medical health evaluation prior to renewing their medical card. This is an annual requirement. Physicians in Alaska charge between $120 to $200 for the medical card health evaluation. 

Updated proof of residency in the state of Alaska is also required. Patients or caregivers will also need to provide valid government-issued photo identification. This can be a driver’s license or state ID card. 

What if I lose my medical card in AK?

You can request a replacement card from the Alaska Department of Health and Human Services. If you have a lost or stolen medical cannabis card, you should report it right away. 

In Alaska, can I keep a gun and marijuana in my home?

When it comes to gun laws, Alaska is a state that has few restrictions. That is because guns are very much part of life in Alaska for hunting. And gun owners are responsible. 

By federal law, anytime you have a gun and any controlled substance (including cannabis) in your home, you are committing a felony offense. However, cannabis is legalized by the state in Alaska for both medical and recreational use.

Residents should always advise law enforcement of a gun in the home or in a vehicle. And ensure that they have less than the maximum allowed amount of cannabis on their person. Legal penalties depend on the officer and the jurisdiction right now until cannabis is federally decriminalized. 

Where do you buy medical marijuana in Alaska?

Medical marijuana is available at licensed dispensaries. However, patients can also purchase cannabis products from recreational dispensaries. 

Currently, there are retail dispensaries located in Anchorage, Denali, Fairbanks, Girdwood, Juneau, Kenai, Ketchican, Kodiak Island, Mat-Su Valley, Nome, Petersburg, Sitka, Skagway, Valdez, and Yukon.

When did Alaska medical marijuana become legal?

In 1998, Measure 8 passed and the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in Alaska was legalized for patients with qualifying health conditions. The legislation stipulated that cannabis could not be used in public or in the workplace. 

History of legalizing cannabis in Alaska

Lawmakers in Alaska had a veritable tug of war over criminal penalties for possession and use of cannabis. It started in 1975, and the back and forth momentum finally culminated in the legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana in Alaska. 

May, 1975— Alaska became the second state in America to decriminalize cannabis. The penalty for possession became a $100 fine. It passed despite not receiving the signature of Governor Jay Hammond and about one week before the Ravin legal decision in the state legislature. 

Source Web 2021: law.justia.com

May, 1990—Measure 2 was passed with a 54.3% vote. This recriminalized possession and use of cannabis with penalties of up to 90 days in prison and a fine of $1000 for first-time offenses. 

Source Web 2021: ballotpedia.org

November 1998—Measure 8 legalized medical marijuana in the state of Alaska. The vote passed with 58.7% support. The laws allowed patients to grow up to six plants at home and possess up to 28g (one ounce) of cannabis. 

Source Web 2021: ballotpedia.org

June, 2006—An amendment was made to further recriminalize cannabis in 2006. Possession of under one ounce would be punishable by a maximum sentence of 90-days. Possession of 1-4 ounces would be a misdemeanor charge punishable by one year of incarceration. And possession of over four ounces would be an automatic felony offense in Alaska. Gov. Frank Murkowski supported the new measures. 

Source Web 2021: norml.org

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Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics
Marijuana Registry
P.O. Box 110699
Juneau, AK 99811-0699
Phone: (907) 465-5423
Email: BVSSpecialServices@health.state.ak.us
Website: Alaska Marijuana Registry Online

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Alaska Medical Marijuana Telemedicine Services Online

Qualified patients in Alaska may choose to see a marijuana doctor online instead of in-person, using the telemedicine portal, provided that a medical marijuana telemedicine doctor first establish a bonafide relationship with the patient in-person, after which all follow-up visits may be conducted via medical marijuana telemedicine services, online.

The State of Alaska has a legalized medical marijuana program, which allows patients to receive a medical marijuana recommendation from a certified physician, and apply for a state-issued Alaska Medical Marijuana ID Card, permitting the patient to grow and/or purchase marijuana for medicinal use, as per Alaska state guidelines.

Since the Alaska medical marijuana program is still changing their laws and new Alaska medical marijuana laws are being enacted on a regular basis, please be sure to visit our site frequently to get the most updated laws as it pertains to the Alaska medical marijuana program. Please click a corresponding link below to find out more about Alaska’s Medical Marijuana Program. We have compiled the following Alaska medical marijuana index of information to serve as a medical library to our users for legal reference of Alaska’s laws, guidelines and program details regarding medical cannabis use in Alaska.

Please note: In order to become a legal medical marijuana patient you must first have a qualifying condition as outlined by the department of health services and/or department of justice. For a comprehensive list of Alaska’s qualifying medical marijuana conditions, please visit our qualifying conditions section located on the top of our menu under “legal states”.

Alaska Medical Marijuana Laws

While possession of an ounce or less carries no penalties, and you can have up to four ounces in your home with no penalty, the punishment ratchets up quickly for possession of more than four ounces. It is considered a felony offense punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of as much as $50,000. Read Alaska’s Full Medical Marijuana Laws to learn more.

Alaska Medical Marijuana Card

To participate in the Alaska medical marijuana program, you have to obtain a card. This card will provide you legal protection should you have to travel across the state and have cannabis in your possession. It also grants holders access to the many clubs throughout Alaska that only provide cannabis to those who are entered into the state registry. Find out more about how to obtain an Alaska Medical Marijuana Card by reading our guide.

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