Updated on April 10, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Patients in Alaska diagnosed with one of the following severe, debilitating, or life-threatening medical conditions, are afforded legal protection under the Alaska Medical Marijuana law, as per Alaska Statute Title 17 Chapter 37:
or any chronic or debilitating disease or treatment for any of these condition(s) which produces for the specific patient:
Subject to the approval of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, other conditions may be added at any time.
On November 03, 1998, 58% of Alaska voters approved Ballot Measure 8, which removed state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of medical marijuana (also referred to as medical weed, medical pot or medical cannabis) by patients who possess written documentation from their physician advising that they “might benefit from the medical use of marijuana.”
Senate Bill 94 was passed in 1999. The Alaska Statute Title 17, Chapter 37: “Medical Uses of Marijuana”, mandated that all patients seeking legal protection under this act, MUST enroll in the state patient registry and possess a valid identification card, also referred to as a medical marijuana card, pot card or cannabis card. Patients or their primary caregivers may legally possess up to one ounce of usable marijuana and may cultivate up to six marijuana plants, of which no more than three may be mature.
Some medical marijuana patients will claim they have a doctor’s prescription for medical marijuana, but marijuana prescriptions are in fact illegal. The federal government classifies marijuana as a schedule I drug. Therefore doctors are unable to prescribe marijuana to their patients, and medical marijuana patients cannot go to a pharmacy to fill a prescription for medical marijuana. Instead, medical marijuana doctors in Alaska will supply patients with a medical marijuana recommendation in compliance with state law.
According to Alaska medical marijuana laws, patients and their caregivers may possess one ounce of marijuana in a usable form and six marijuana plants, with no more than three mature and flowering plants producing usable marijuana at any one time. The state of Alaska does not allow for the purchase or sale of medical cannabis.
In January 2017, cannabis dispensaries sold more than $400,000 in products in Anchorage alone, an indication that the industry is not only viable but also thriving in the state.
One of the major concerns for patients who meet Alaska medical marijuana qualifications standards was what kind of effect the Trump administration would have on their rights to use medical cannabis.
In April 2017, the governor of Alaska, as well as the governors of Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, sent a letter to both the U.S. Treasury Secretary and the U.S. Attorney General. The letter urged these officials to continue to allow legalization in states where it has become legal and to also follow existing guidance regarding the ability of financial institutions to work with cannabis-based companies.
Failing to do so, according to the letter, would produce “harmful consequences” that include diverting resources to the black market. It would also lead cannabis-related businesses to have to look elsewhere for funds and potentially endanger those using weed for medicinal purposes.