Way back in 1975, Alaska became only the second American state to decriminalize the substance. The Ravin v. State case of the same year ruled that an adult was allowed to possess a small amount of weed in the home for personal use. In 1982, the state decriminalized the possession of an ounce outside the home and four ounces at home. The herb was briefly recriminalized in 1990, but that state of affairs only lasted until 2003.
Meanwhile, Measure 8 passed in 1998 and allowed medical patients to use weed if they had a debilitating condition that might benefit from the herb. Recriminalization was once again introduced in 2006, but within a decade, Alaska decided to go all the way and legalize pot throughout the state after Measure 2 passed in 2014.
Alaska decided to go all the way and legalize pot throughout the state back in 2014.
The measure went into effect on February 24 of the following year. Residents of the state aged 21+ can possess up to an ounce and grow a maximum of six plants at home. The medical marijuana program still exists in Alaska but if you can get weed without an MMJ card, what’s the point? Read on to find out.
The Definitive Guide on How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Alaska
Depending on where you live, there are several reasons to get an MMJ card even if weed is recreationally legal. For example, in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Colorado, the card enables you to purchase higher potency products. In Alaska, you don’t get the same benefit, but you do receive tax breaks which means your weed is cheaper. It is definitely worth getting an MMJ card if you are likely to use a lot of Mary Jane during the year.
Also, while you need to be aged 21+ to get recreational cannabis, minors are eligible for an MMJ card in Alaska. To be honest, it isn’t difficult to get a medical marijuana card in Alaska, which the state calls a Medical Marijuana Registry (MMR) card. You must be an Alaskan resident and have one of the qualifying conditions mentioned below; you shouldn’t have much of an issue as long as you tell the truth.
Step 1 – Schedule an Appointment with a Physician
You need to schedule a doctor’s appointment. Make sure you bring your medical records with you. During the consultation, the physician will ask you several questions about your condition and complete a physical examination. The goal is to determine whether you are a good candidate for medical marijuana. If he believes you will benefit from weed, he will give you a signed physician’s statement.
Step 2 – Register with the Division of Public Health & Send in Your Application
Your next step is to complete the application form. As you can see, the original signed copy of the doctor’s statement is a prerequisite. When filling in the form, you must include your name, mailing address, physical address, date of birth, and a photo ID. The MMR only accepts a state driver’s license or state ID card number.
Other required information includes the name, address, and phone number of your doctor, and the name, address and phone number of your caregiver if applicable. If you are a minor, you need an original statement in writing from a parent or legal guardian which gives them consent to serve as your primary caregiver, and gives permission for you to use medical marijuana.
After you have finished your application, send it to the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics Marijuana Registry at Juneau. Make sure you submit everything in a single envelope.
Step 3 – Wait for Your MMJ Card
It takes a maximum of five weeks for the application to be processed. If your application is approved, you will receive your MMR card in the mail. If your application is denied, you are not allowed to apply again for at least six months.
Incidentally, there are no special state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. Instead, you simply use the same dispensaries as those purchasing recreational cannabis.
Both medicinal and recreational users are allowed to possess a maximum of one ounce. If you are caught in possession of four ounces or more, you could face a felony charge. Please note that there is no reciprocity agreement so your Alaska MMR will be invalid in any other state.
What are the Qualifying Conditions Required to get a Medical Marijuana Card in Alaska?
The list of qualifying medical conditions is actually shorter than in most states. You must have one of the following to be considered for an MMR card in Alaska:
- Severe pain
- Severe nausea
- Cachexia/Wasting syndrome
- Persistent muscle spasms
- Multiple sclerosis
What Are the Medical Cannabis Card Costs in Alaska?
The application fee is $25, and it costs $20 to renew your MMR card assuming you do so in time. The cost of the consultation varies although we know that in Anchorage, physicians tend to charge between $200 and $250; you can expect to pay at least $50 if you don’t have medical records.
Other Important Information on the Alaska Medical Marijuana License Process
According to state law, there needs to be a bona fide physician-patient relationship before the former is allowed to perform an evaluation. The Alaskan Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) will not register a patient unless they are examined within 16 months of the application.
If there is a change in your name, address, or doctor, you need to notify the DHSS within 10 days.
The MMR card is valid for a year, and when it comes to the renewal of the card, you need to submit updated written documentation including another signed physician’s statement. If your physician decides that you no longer need cannabis for medical reasons, you must return all registry cards to the DHSS within 24 hours.
When you are in possession of marijuana or else you are trying to purchase it, make sure you have the original card because a copy is not valid. The card is also deemed invalid if it has been altered in any way that damages its legibility; you are also not allowed to laminate it.