SUMMARY: Fifty-eight percent of voters approved Ballot Measure #8 on November 3, 1998. The law took effect on March 4, 1999. It removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess written documentation from their physician advising that they “might benefit from the medical use of marijuana.” Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: cachexia; cancer; chronic pain; epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizures; glaucoma; HIV or AIDS; multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity; and nausea. Other conditions are subject to approval by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Patients (or their primary caregivers) may legally possess no more than one ounce of usable marijuana, and may cultivate no more than six marijuana plants, of which no more than three may be mature. The law establishes a confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients.
The medical use provisions in Alaska do not include reciprocity provisions protecting visitors from other medical use states.
Senate Bill 94, which took effect on June 2, 1999, mandates all patients seeking legal protection under this act to enroll in the state patient registry and possess a valid identification card. Patients not enrolled in the registry will no longer be able to argue the “affirmative defense of medical necessity” if they are arrested on marijuana charges.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: Alaska Stat. §§ 17.37.10 – 17.37.80 (2007).
CAREGIVERS: Yes. The caregiver must be 21 years of age or older. The caregiver can never have been convicted of a felony controlled substances offense. The caregiver must be listed by the patient as either the primary caregiver or an alternate caregiver. Only one primary caregiver and one alternate caregiver may be listed in the registry for a patient. A person may be a primary caregiver or alternate caregiver for only one patient at a time, unless the primary caregiver or alternate caregiver is simultaneously caring for two or more patients who are related to the caregiver by at least the fourth degree of kinship by blood or marriage. Alaska Stat. §17.37.010 (2007).
CONTACT INFORMATION: For more information on Alaska’s medical marijuana law, please contact:
Alaskans for Medical Rights
P.O. Box 102320
Anchorage, AK 99510
(907) 277-AKMR (2567)
Application information for the Alaska medical marijuana registry is available by writing or calling:
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
P.O. Box 110699
Juneau, AK 99811-0699
Attention: Terry Ahrens