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Alaska Marijuana Law, Regulation, Penalties, Attornies & Congressman

Alaska Marijuana Legalization

SUMMARY: Fifty-two percent of Alaska voters approved Ballot Measure 2. Under the measure, the adult possession of up to one ounce of cannabis as well as the cultivation of up to six-plants for personal consumption will be legal and untaxed. Commercial production and retail sales of cannabis will be subject to licensing and taxation. Since 1975, Alaskans have enjoyed personal privacy protections allowing for the possession and cultivation of small quantities of cannabis. However, state law has never before permitted a legal market for marijuana production and sales. The initiative will become law in late February 2015.

Alaska Marijuana Penalties

Offense Penalty Incarceration   Max. Fine  

Possession

Personal Use

1 oz or less None None $ 0
1 – 4 oz in your residence* Not classified N/A $ 0
1 – less than 4 oz Misdemeanor 1 year $ 10,000
4 oz or more Felony 5 years $ 50,000
Any amount within 500 feet of school grounds or rec. center** Felony 5 years $ 50,000
Public consumption Violation None $ 100

With Intent to Distribute

Less than 1 oz*** Misdemeanor 1 year $ 10,000
1 oz or more Felony 5 years $ 50,000
* Based on an Alaskan Supreme Court decision, possession in the home for personal use is protected conduct by the right-to-privacy provision in their state constitution.
** If charged with possession of marijuana in a school zone, an affirmative defense may be raised in court that the conduct took place entirely within a private residence.
*** The law will change in November 2016 when retail stores are established to sell up to one ounce. Currently, a person may convey up to one ounce to anyone 21 years old or older without compensation.

Sale or Delivery

Less than 1 oz Misdemeanor 1 year $ 10,000
1 oz or more Felony 5 years $ 50,000
To a person under 19 who is 3 years or more younger than the seller. Felony 10 years $ 100,000

Cultivation

Up to 6 plants (no more than 3 mature) None None $ 0
6 – 25 plants in your residence* Not classified N/A $ 0
25 plants or more Felony 5 years $ 1,000
To a person under 19 who is 3 years or more younger than the seller. Felony 10 years $ 100,000
* Based on an Alaskan Supreme Court decision, possession in the home for personal use is protected conduct by the right-to-privacy provision in their state constitution.

Hash & Concentrates

Possession of 3g or less Misdemeanor 0 – 1 year $ 10,000
Possession of more than 3g Felony 0 – 2 years $ 50,000
Delivery, manufacture, or possessing with intent to distribute any amount Felony 1 – 3 years $ 100,000

Civil Asset Forfeiture

Vehicles and other assets can be seized in a civil proceeding, regardless of whether criminal charges are brought.

Miscellaneous

If under 1 ounce of marijuana is gifted No Liability None $ 0

Penalty Details

Marijuana is a Schedule VIA substance under the Controlled Substances chapter of Alaskan criminal law. However, tetrahydrocannabinols, hash, and hash oil are Schedule IIIA substances.

See

  • Alaska Stat. § 11.71.160
  • Alaska Stat. § 11.71.190

Possession for Personal Use

Adults may possess up to one ounce of marijuana and/or to grow up to six marijuana plants (no more than three mature) for non-commercial purposes. Sharing or gifting 1 ounce or less, or 6 plants or less for personal use to persons at least 21 years of age quantities of marijuana is also permitted under the new law; however the consumption of cannabis in public remains an offense and is punishable by a fine of up to $100.

See

  • Alaska Stat. § 17.38.020
  • Alaska Stat. § 17.38.040

Possession of 1 to less than 4 ounces is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000. However, if the use, display, or possession was for personal use and occurred in the confines of the offender’s private residence, there is no penalty and this act is protected under the Alaskan constitutional right to privacy.

Possession of 4 or more ounces of marijuana is a class C felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $50,000.

See

  • Alaska Stat. § 11.71.040
  • Alaska Stat. § 11.71.050
  • Alaska Stat. § 11.71.060
  • Alaska Stat. § 12.55.035
  • Alaska Stat. § 12.55.125(d), (e)
  • Alaska Stat. § 12.55.135
  • Ravin v. State, 537 P.2d 494 (Alaska 1975)
  • Noy v. State, 83 P.3d 545 (Alaska Ct. App)

Possession within 500 feet of school grounds, a recreation or youth center, or on a school bus is a class C felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $50,000. It is an affirmative defense to this charge that the violation occurred entirely within the confines of a personal residence.

See

  • Alaska Stat. § 11.71.040
  • Alaska Stat. § 12.55.035
  • Alaska Stat. § 12.55.125(d), (e)

Possession with Intent to Distribute

It is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000 to possess with intent to distribute less than 1 ounce of marijuana. Possession with intent to distribute an ounce or more of marijuana is a class C felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $50,000.

See

  • Alaska Stat. § 11.71.040
  • Alaska Stat. § 11.71.050
  • Alaska Stat. § 12.55.035
  • Alaska Stat. § 12.55.125
  • Alaska Stat. § 12.55.135

Sale/Delivery

Retail sales of cannabis by state-licensed entities to those over the age of 21 are regulated in this state. Marijuana sales by unlicensed entities remain subject to criminal penalties.

It is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000 to deliver with or without compensation less than 1 ounce of marijuana. Delivery with or without compensation of an ounce or more of marijuana is a class C felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $50,000.

See

  • Alaska Stat. § 11.71.040
  • Alaska Stat. § 11.71.050
  • Alaska Stat. § 12.55.035
  • Alaska Stat. § 12.55.125
  • Alaska Stat. § 12.55.135

Delivery to a person under the age of 19 by a person at least 3 years his senior is a class B felony punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $100,000.

See

  • Alaska Stat. § 11.71.030
  • Alaska Stat. § 12.55.035

Cultivation

Adults may possess up to one ounce of marijuana and/or to grow up to six marijuana plants (no more than three mature) for non-commercial purposes. Cultivation shall be in a location where plants are not subject to public view without use of binoculars, aircraft, or other optical aids. One must take reasonable precautions to ensure the plants are secure from unauthorized access. Cultivation may only occur on property lawfully possessed by the cultivator or with consent from the person in lawful possession. Violation of these rules while otherwise in compliance with AS § 17.38.020 is punishable by a fine of up to $750.

See

  • Alaska Stat. § 17.38.030

Cultivation of less than 25 plants of marijuana for personal use in a private residence is protected under the right to privacy of the Alaska constitution. Cultivation of 25 plants or more is a class C felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $50,000.

See

  • Alaska Stat. § 11.71.040
  • Alaska Stat. § 12.55.035
  • Alaska Stat. § 12.55.125
  • Ravin v. State, 537 P.2d 494 (Alaska 1975)
  • Noy v. State, 83 P.3d 545 (Alaska Ct. App. 2003)

Hash & Concentrates

Hashish, hashish oil, and any other compound, mixture, or preparation containing THC is a Schedule IIIA substance.

See

  • Alaska Stat. §11.71.160(f)
  • Alaska Stat. §11.71.900

Possessing less than 3 grams of hashish or concentrate is considered misconduct involving a controlled substance in the fifth degree. Misconduct involving a controlled substance in the fifth degree is a Class A misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and a sentence of up to 1 year.

See

  • Alaska Stat. §11.71.050
  • Alaska Stat. §12.55.035(b)(5)
  • Alaska Stat. §12.55.135(a)

Possessing more than three grams or more of hashish or concentrate is considered misconduct involving a controlled substance in the fourth degree. Possessing hashish or concentrates on a school bus or within 500 feet of a school or youth center is also misconduct involving a controlled substance in the fourth degree. Misconduct involving a controlled substance in the fourth degree is a Class C felony. A Class C felony conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $50,000 and a sentence of 0 -2 years, but previous felony convictions will increase the sentence up to 5 years total.

See

  • Alaska Stat. §11.71.040
  • Alaska Stat. §12.55.125(e)
  • Alaska Stat. §12.55.035(b)(4)

Delivering any amount of a hashish or concentrate to an individual less than 19 years in age and who is at least three years younger than the person delivering the substance is misconduct involving a controlled substance in the first degree. Misconduct involving a controlled substance in the first degree is an unclassified felony which is punishable by a fine of up to $500,000 and a sentence of 5 – 99 years.

See

  • Alaska Stat. §11.71.010
  • Alaska Stat. §12.55.125(b)

Delivering, manufacturing, or possessing hashish or THC concentrates with the intent to deliver is considered misconduct involving a controlled substance in the third degree, which is a Class B felony. A Class B felony conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and a sentence of 1 – 3 years, but previous felony convictions will increase the sentence up to 10 years total.

See

  • Alaska Stat. §11.71.030
  • Alaska Stat. §12.55.125(d)
  • Alaska Stat. §12.55.035(b)(3)

If charged with misconduct involving a controlled substance in the fourth degree due to the crime occurring within 500 feet of a school or youth center then the defendant may raise the affirmative defense that all the activity took place within a private residence. This defense does not prevent a lesser charge from being brought.

See

  • Alaska Stat. §12.71.040(b)

While Alaska does recognize medical affirmative defenses for possession of marijuana, those defenses do not apply to hashish or concentrates.

See

  • Alaska Stat. §12.71.090

Paraphernalia

Alaska does not have any laws punishing the possession, sale, or manufacture of paraphernalia.

Sentencing

The court, after rendering judgment or within 60 days of doing so, may suspend imposition of a sentence or part of a sentence and place the offender on probation. For first time offenders, the court may suspend imposition of a sentence for up to 1 year or for the maximum duration of the sentence that may be imposed, whichever is greater, if it determines that it would be in the interest of justice.

See

  • Alaska Stat. § 12.55.080
  • Alaska Stat. § 12.55.085

For violations of the controlled substances chapter of Alaskan criminal law which involve the person’s own use of the substance, they may be committed to the Department of Corrections for treatment for up to 1 year. This may be in place of fine or imprisonment, but only if the imprisonment would not have exceeded 1 year.

See

  • Alaska Stat. § 11.71.305

Presumptive terms of imprisonment increase for subsequent felony convictions.

See

  • Alaska Stat. § 12.55.085(d)(3)-(4)

Forfeiture

Vehicles and other property may be seized for controlled substance violations. Within 20 days of seizure of the property, the commissioner of public safety must notify all persons with an interest in the property. A person has 30 days to respond to this notice with a claim to the property.

See

  • Alaska Stat. § 17.30.110
  • Alaska Stat. § 17.30.112
  • Alaska Stat. § 17.30.11

Miscellaneous

Administrative revocation of license to drive for consumption or possession of alcohol or drugs

The department shall revoke the driver’s license or permit, privilege to drive, or privilege to obtain a license of a person not yet 18 years of age for six months when notified of an informal adjustment and shall revoke the person’s driver’s license or permit… for an additional six months if informed of unsuccessful adjustment.

See

  • Alaska Stat. § 28.15.176
  • Alaska Stat. § 47.12.060(b)(4)
Knowingly maintaining a structure used for drug offenses

It is a class C felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $50,000 to maintain a structure (including vehicles and houses) that the owner knows is used for selling, storing, or using marijuana.

See

  • Alaska Stat. § 11.71.040
  • Alaska Stat. § 12.55.035
Civil damages

When a person engages in action that causes civil damages while under the influence of a controlled substance and the intoxication contributed significantly to the damages, the person who sold or gave them the substance is strictly liable to him for the damages.

See

  • Alaska Stat. § 09.65.205
Conditional Release

The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual’s criminal record does not reflect the charge.

Drugged Driving

This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold. 

Legalization

This state has legalized marijuana for personal use.

Medical Marijuana

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective. For more information see NORML’s Medical Marijuana section.

Alaska Drugged Driving

In Alaska, a person is guilty of DUI if the person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, intoxicating liquor, inhalant, or any controlled substance, singly or in combination. Alaska Stat. § 28.35.030(a)(1) (2010).

Implied Consent

In Alaska, a person suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol has, by virtue of driving in the state, consented to provide a sample of breath, blood, or urine to police for testing in order to determine the amount of alcohol in his or her system. However, implied consent law does not require that an individual suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana or controlled substance submit to a chemical test in order to screen for the presence of drugs in his or her body. Ergo, in Alaska a chemical sample from an accused person should only be given on a voluntarily basis, and no penalties or sanctions apply for refusal to submit to chemical testing for drugs.

An exception applies if a motorist is involved in an accident that causes serious physical injury. In such a case, state can take blood sample to test for cannabis impairment. Id. § 28.35.031(g).

Penalties

  • First offense – fine of up to $1,500; incarceration for not less than 72 consecutive hours; 90-day license suspension; mandatory ignition interlock device. Alaska Stat. § 28.35.030(b)(1)(A) (2010).
  • Second offense – fine of up to $3,000; incarceration for not less than 20 days; 1-year license revocation; mandatory ignition interlock device. Id. § 28.35.030(b)(1)(B).
  • Third offense – fine of up to $4,000, incarceration for not less than 60 days; 3-year license revocation; mandatory ignition interlock device Id. § 28.35.030(b)(1)(C).
  • Third offense (w/i 10 years) felony – fine of up to $10,000; incarceration for not less than 120 days; lifetime license revocation. Id. § 28.35.030(n).
  • Fourth offense – fine of up to $10,000; incarceration of not less than 120 days; 5-year license revocation; mandatory ignition interlock for duration of probation period. Id. § 28.35.030(b)(1)(D).
  • Fourth offense (w/i 10 years) felony – minimum $10,000 fine; incarceration for not less than 240 days; lifetime license revocation. Id. § 28.35.030(n).
  • Fifth offense – imprisonment of not less than 360 days and a fine of not less than $7,000. Id. § 28.35.030(b)(1)(E).
  • Fifth offense (w/i 10 years) felony – minimum $10,000 fine; incarceration for a minimum of 1 year; lifetime license revocation. Id. § 28.35.030(n)

Other Penalties & Penalty Enhancers

  • Restitution for the cost of emergency medical services that respond to a DUI related accident. Id. § 28.35.030(m).
  • Offender will be responsible for costs associated potential required screening, evaluation, referral and program requirements of an alcohol safety action program, or another approved treatment facility. Id. §§ 28.35.030(h)-(i).
  • State may order the vehicle to be forfeited. Id. § 28.35.030(b)(3); Id. § 28.35.036.
  • State may order the person to take a drug or combination of drugs intended to prevent the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Id. § 28.35.030(b)(4).

Sobriety Checkpoints

Alaska does not have sobriety checkpoints.

Case Law

Ravin v. State, 537 P.2d 494 (1975). — “Need for control of drivers under influence of marijuana and existing doubts as to safety of marijuana demonstrate a sufficient justification for statutory proscription of possession of marijuana; and thus an individual’s right to possess or ingest marijuana while driving is subject to statute proscribing possession of marijuana.”

Kameroff v. State, 926 P.2d 1174 (1996) — Evidence of marijuana pipe found on defendant following traffic stop was not excluded from evidence. The court found it tended to show that defendant had recently smoked marijuana.

Joseph Raymond Skrha

907-398-1800

Joseph Raymond Skrha

Law Office Of Joe Ray Skrha
110 North Willow St. Suite 137

Kenal, AK 99611

Phone: 907-398-1800

 

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