In Growing Marijuana in Alaska – AK Cannabis State Laws (2021) we gave a brief overview on how Alaskans can apply to their state’s medical marijuana program. Even though recreational marijuana has been legal in The Last Frontier since 2015, residents who need marijuana for their condition still have the option to register for a medical marijuana card.
Overview of Medical Marijuana in Alaska
In 1998, Alaska became the second state to legalize medical marijuana after voters allowed Measure 8 to pass. You can read up on the law here: Alaska Statute Title 17, Chapter 37, “An Act relating to the medical use of marijuana; and providing for an effective date.” (SB 94).
Alaska’s medical marijuana law allows registered patients and their caregivers to possess and purchase up to an ounce, keep up to 4 oz at home, and cultivate up to six plants, only 3 of which can be mature at the same time. To qualify, patients must have at least one of the following conditions:
- Chronic Pain
- HIV or AIDS
- Multiple Sclerosis
Even minors afflicted with any of these conditions can register for the program, as long as they do so under the permission of their parents or legal guardian. Meanwhile, those aged 21 and above may apply as a caregiver as long as they don’t have a conviction for a drug-related felony or they’re not on parole or probation.
Why should you get a medical marijuana card in Alaska?
Despite marijuana being readily available in Alaska, there are still a couple of reasons why a patient will still want to get a medical marijuana card. For one, it is the only way a minor can legally use marijuana. The law allows patients aged at least 18 to register into the program, while parents or legal guardians may also register their children as long as they have a qualifying condition. However, patients under 21 who need to purchase, and grow marijuana need to have a caregiver who will do it for them. Only the parent or the legal guardian may register as the primary caregiver and they will also be responsible for dispensing marijuana. A caregiver can have only one patient at a time unless the patients are related at least to the fourth degree of kinship.
Although the limits for medical and recreational marijuana are the same, having a medical marijuana card offers better legal protection, especially in cases of higher possession, but this only applies to cannabis in flower form and not concentrates.
How to get a medical marijuana card in Alaska
Getting a medical marijuana card in Alaska is a fairly straightforward process compared to other states. If you want to register into the program, here are the steps you should follow:
- Go to a physician with whom you have an established history with to get a signed statement confirming your qualifying condition. Parents or legal guardians of minors also have to submit a signed statement confirming that the physician has already explained the risks and benefits of medical marijuana.
- Patients and caregivers need to fill out an application for the Department of Health and Social Services which should include the following:
- The original completed copy of the Alaska medical marijuana card application form.
- An original statement in writing (not a photocopy) by the minor’s parent or legal guardian residing in Alaska, stating that they consent to be the primary caregiver and that they are allowing the minor to use medical marijuana.
- The original copy of the signed statement from your physician confirming your qualifying condition..
Applications can only be submitted through mail, so you will have to send yours to the address below:
Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 110699
Juneau, AK 99811‐0699
The application fee costs $25 while for timely renewals it is $20. You can pay with a money order or a check which should be preprinted with your name and address. There is a $30.00 NSF fee for returned checks.
Frequently Asked Questions on Getting an Alaska Medical Marijuana Card
Residents of Alaska don’t really need a medical marijuana card to possess, purchase, and grow cannabis. However, being a registered patient in the state’s medical marijuana program is the only way a minor can legally medicate with cannabis. An MMJ card also provides additional legal protection for patients who may need to possess an amount exceeding the legal limit.
Patients in Alaska with at least one of the qualifying conditions below are eligible for a medical marijuana card:
HIV or AIDS
Patients may need to apply for a medical marijuana card in Alaska if they are a minor or would like to be a caregiver. A medical marijuana card may also serve as additional legal protection for patients caught in possession of an amount exceeding the legal limit.
After you send in your application requirements for an Alaska medical marijuana card, you should get your card in the mail anytime within 5 weeks. However, if you have been denied, you may reapply only after six months.
Applications for a medical marijuana card in Alaska cost $25 while renewals, $20.
Patients registered in Alaska’s medical marijuana are allowed to cultivate up to 6 plants, only 3 of which can be mature at the same time. A maximum of 12 plants may be grown per household regardless of the number of adults living there.
Patients registered in Alaska’s medical marijuana program and their caregivers can possess up to an ounce of cannabis, keep at home up to 4 ounces, and cultivate up to 6 plants, only 3 of which can be mature at the same time.
If you’re planning to get a medical marijuana card as an adult in Alaska, it may not be worth the effort. One, the limits for possession, purchase, and cultivation are the same, you even have to buy from the same dispensaries that sell recreational weed. Furthermore, you’ll be registered in the government’s database when you register as a marijuana user, which means you’ll lose your right to buy a gun. The only reason why you’d want to bother getting a medical marijuana card in Alaska is if your child needs it, or your condition needs more than the allowed limit. You may be legally allowed to grow more than 6 plants if your physician recommends it.