Growing Marijuana in Alaska – AK Cannabis State Laws (2021)

Today, Alaska is one of the best places in the US to enjoy recreational weed. The Last Frontier’s pristine natural beauty serves as a perfect backdrop for chilling while getting high. Looking at how relatively lax Alaska marijuana laws are at present, you would not have guessed that the state actually had a rocky relationship with weed in the past. 

If you do a search online for legal marijuana in Alaska, you’re sure to come across Ravin vs State. In this case, the Alaska Supreme court ruled in favor of the defendant, Irwin Ravin, citing that the Alaska Constitution’s right to privacy protects an adult’s ability to use and possess a small amount of marijuana at home for personal use. 

After the Ravin case, Alaska even passed legislation to further decriminalize marijuana penalties in 1982. But despite this momentum, Alaskans still voted to re-criminalize weed just 8 years after. It would then take more than a decade for recreational marijuana to be completely legal in the state.

Now that weed is all good under Alaska marijuana laws, exactly how much will it allow you to grow and how?

This article was reviewed and updated for 2021.

Overview of Cannabis Growing Laws in Alaska

Alaska marijuana laws are such an oddball that technically, it was possible for residents to grow up to 25 plants under the state’s right to privacy. But ironically enough, it was Measure 2, which legalized recreational marijuana, that defined the growing limit to 6 plants. Specifically: 

  • Adults aged 21 up may grow up to 6 marijuana plants. Only three or fewer should be mature, flowering plants.
  • There is also a limit of 12 plants per household regardless if there are more than 2 adults residing there.
  • These plants are to be grown in a space that can be locked and kept away from public view.

The home growing limit is the same for both recreational and medical marijuana and plant owners get to keep all the marijuana that they harvest from their plants.  

It’s also important to note that some Alaskans do risk growing 25 plants and some clinics may say that they can offer to process a medical marijuana registration that allows a 25 plant limit. This is because the right to privacy loophole may offer some legal protection but these clinics are just offering something that’s free under the constitution. Don’t expect the Alaskan government to provide clarity on that matter, it will insist that growers stick to the 6 plant limit. 

This was last updated in June 2020. We will be updating this guide with new developments that may come out.

Punishments for Violating Alaska Home Grow Laws

Alaska marijuana law is quite unclear on what kind of charges you’ll face if you exceed the 6 plants per person, 12 per household limit. What is known though is that it is a Class C felony to possess more than 25 plants. This is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 5 years and/or a fine up to $50,000.

What the law clearly states though is that you’ll get a fine of up to $750 if:

  • Your plants can be seen publicly
  • Your growing space is not secure
  • You are growing on property that is not yours or without the owner’s consent.

History of marijuana in Alaska

Richard Martin, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It seems that the Ravin vs State case in 1975 had been instrumental in getting recreational marijuana legalized in Alaska. In it, the court ruled that the interests of the state government in regulating the personal use of marijuana was not sufficient to overcome Alaskan’s right to privacy. In fact, the ruling was so significant for personal cannabis use since it made Alaska the first state where adults are legally free to possess and use small amounts of marijuana within their homes.

This eventually led to the decriminalization of possession of weed up to 4 ounces at home and one outside of it in 1982. Yet strangely enough, Alaskans still decided for some reason to recriminalize cannabis in 1990 thanks to the anti-drug efforts of “Anchorage grandmother” Marie Majewske. Under Measure 2, simple possession meant a jail sentence of up to 90 days and a fine of up to $1000.

Legalization of medical marijuana

Things started to take a turn for the better when the state legalized medical marijuana in 1998 by approving Measure 8, possibly due to the example set by California two years prior.  

Another significant turn in Alaska’s cannabis history is Noy v. State. Here, the defendant’s conviction for possession of less than 8 oz of weed was overturned based on the Ravin vs State case where the defendant had over 4 ounces. 

On this momentum, a move to make recreational marijuana use was once again pushed in 2004. However, this failed after getting only 44.3% of the vote. Pot was then again recriminalized in 2006 under the efforts of then-governor Frank Murkowski. 

Legalization of recreational marijuana

Alaska finally came to its senses when it approved Measure 2 in 2014. This permitted adults age 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of cannabis and cultivate six plants. The passage of this ballot measure made Alaska one of the first states to legalize recreational use and sale, just 2 years after Colorado and Washington.

Alaska may have had a rocky past with marijuana but it sure came full circle after almost five decades. Now, Alaska has gone full steam ahead with pot and in fact, it recently became the first US state To allow on-site consumption at cannabis shops

Find the best cannabis seed banks online that ship to the US here.

Growing medical marijuana in Alaska

If you’ll be growing marijuana for recreational use in Alaska, you don’t need to do anything else except follow the rules that we’ve mentioned earlier in this article. As for medical marijuana, some say that it’s really not worth getting an MMJ card since the cultivation limit, possession limit and taxes for both recreational and medical use are the same. Furthermore, MMR cardholders get entered into the federal government’s database as pot users.  This automatically removes their right to buy a gun. Therefore, the only reason you would want to apply as a patient in Alaska’s medical marijuana registry is if you’re below 21 or need a caregiver to grow for you.    

How to apply as a patient

Patients aged 18 and over with a qualifying debilitating condition may apply for an MMR card. Unfortunately, there’s currently no way to apply online. You’ll have to send all your documents via mail and it may take as long as 5 weeks for your application to be approved. Here are the things you’ll need to secure for your application:

  • The original signed form of your physician’s statement
  • Minors need an original statement in writing from their parents or legal guardian residing in Alaska that shows: 
    • Consent to be the primary caregiver
    • They are allowing the minor to use medical marijuana.

These have to be sent along with a properly completed application form. Registration costs $25 while renewal is $20. It is important to provide all the necessary documents and complete the application form properly so it won’t get denied. Those with applications that have been denied will have to wait 6 months before they can reapply.

Marijuana home cultivation laws outside of Alaska

How does Alaska’s marijuana laws compare with home growing laws in other US states? Check out our post on Marijuana Growing Laws in the United States.

FAQs about growing marijuana in Alaska

Is it legal to grow marijuana in Alaska for recreational purposes?

Yes, it is legal to grow recreational cannabis at home in Alaska.

How much marijuana can I grow in Alaska for recreational purposes?

The state allows up to 6 plants per household but only 3 can be flowering at a given time. The maximum is 12 plants per house, regardless if there are more than 2 adults living there.

Is it legal to grow marijuana in Alaska for medical purposes?

Yes, it is legal to grow cannabis at home in Alaska for medical purposes.

How much marijuana can I grow in Alaska for medical purposes?

The cultivation limit is the same for both medical and recreational marijuana: 6 plants per household, but only 3 can be mature at a given time.

Where can I grow marijuana in Alaska?

You can grow on your property or someone else’s as long as you have their consent in writing. The plants must also be grown in a locked space away from public view.

How old do I need to be to grow marijuana in Alaska?

Both medical and recreational growers need to be over 21 years of age.

Conclusion

Like in most other weed states, recreational growers merely need to follow the cultivation limit set by Alaska marijuana laws. Additionally, these plants have to be grown away from public view in a locked space owned by the grower. Alaskans are also allowed to keep all the weed they can harvest from their plants, which is very reasonable. Here are a few more things to keep in mind so you can stay out of trouble when growing weed in Alaska:

  1. Never carry more than an ounce in public and always keep it in a sealed container when in a vehicle. 
  2. If you are carrying some, stay away from school zones. 
  3. Never sell. Just give only up to one ounce. 
  4. Never consume in public.

Thinking About Growing Your Own?

Check out this post where I go into the details about equipment, seeds and the reasons why I got started in this journey.

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