The mountainous, frozen terrain of Alaska beckons to many a backpacker wishing to experience the land in its purest form.
With the legalization of recreational marijuana in Alaska, said backpackers may be tempted to experience its beauty in a heightened state.
But before heading north with your trekking poles and ganja in your pack, make sure to brush up on the legalities of adult marijuana use in Alaska.
Cannabis in Alaska
Alaskan voters approved the Alaska Marijuana Legalization Initiative, or Measure 2, by 53 percent in November 2014, allowing adults 21 and over to cultivate, possess, and use cannabis for personal use, as well as legalizing the manufacture, sale, and possession of cannabis paraphernalia. The Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office (AMCO) established the Marijuana Control Board (MCB) to oversee Alaska’s cannabis program.
Voters approved the Alaska Medical Marijuana Initiative, or Measure 8, by a 58 percent vote in 1998.
Where and How to Buy
Adults 21 and older can buy cannabis from state-licensed retailers. The MCB has discussed allowing retail marijuana licensees to apply for an onsite consumption endorsement, but as of yet it has not been finalized. Consumers can find marijuana retail locations through the Weedmaps search tool. (Weedmaps is the parent company of Marijuana.com.)
Bring a valid photo ID to prove your age, and cash – since most retailers can’t deal with banks because of marijuana’s status as a Schedule I controlled substance.
What Isn’t Allowed
Those 21 and older can use, possess and buy no more than 1 ounce, or 28.35 grams, of marijuana. These adults can individually possess, grow and process no more than six marijuana plants, with up to three being mature, flowering plants. Adults can also have in their possession marijuana produced by plants in their home, but there should be no more than 12 marijuana plants – with up to six mature, flowering plants – in a single dwelling. Adults 21 and older can also give away, but not sell, up to six immature plants and 1 ounce, or 28.35 grams, of marijuana to another adult 21 and older.
It’s illegal to give someone younger than 21 cannabis unless they have a medical marijuana card.
Marijuana must be used on private property, like your home. It cannot be used publicly — in schools, parks, or on sidewalks, to name a few. Some landlords and homeowners’ associations may have rules related to marijuana use, so make sure to check where you live. It’s also illegal to use cannabis on federal land, including national parks.
Cities are allowed to pass more restrictive laws than those on the state level regarding marijuana use, so check with local rules whether there is a question.
You can carry marijuana in your car, but it must be in a sealed container or in the trunk. And remember, it is illegal to use marijuana while driving a car, as well as snowmobiles, boats, ATVs, airplanes and non-motorized aircraft or watercraft.
Marijuana cannot be transported on Alaska Ferries, and out-of-state transport is also illegal.
First-Time Use in Alaska
The idea of lighting up and zoning out in the beauty of Alaska sounds immensely alluring. But remember to keep doses low if you’re a first-timer.
For edibles, have your watch handy to keep track of when you took your bite. Sunlight can be deceiving in Alaska. It can take an hour or two for them to kick in, and you don’t want to take too much too soon.
Alaska is a place you won’t want to forget. So keep your first-time high on the mellow side, and it’ll be a memorable experience.