If a visit to Alaska has been on your bucket list, there’s no better time to explore this incredible state. The majestic beauty of barely-touched nature ensures that this is one trip you’ll never forget.
Although many people stereotype Alaska as a cold, inhospitable area, the truth is that it’s quite tourist-friendly in certain places. Visitors can safely enjoy the crystal-clear lakes, massive mountains, and unique glaciers that give the state its nickname, “The Last Frontier.”
And because of Alaska’s policies on marijuana, you can do all this without worrying about how to get your weed fix.
As with any state, the key is to know the laws before you go. This guide breaks down everything you should be aware of to legally consume cannabis in Alaska.
1. Marijuana is Legal
Alaska legalized marijuana use for medical and recreational purposes in 2015. Long before that, residents were allowed to grow plants for personal use without much regulation.
Today, the state still follows a relaxed policy. However, with the newly legalized stance, there’s a framework you have to follow.
Anyone 21 years or older can possess up to one ounce of cannabis with the intent of using it themselves. You can give someone else (or get) up to one ounce as well, as long as you’re not buying or selling it.
If you want to buy your own weed, you can legally get it at any dispensary in the state (and there are plenty of them).
2. Cannabis and Driving
Alaska’s cannabis policies concerning driving are strict. You can’t smoke in your vehicle, and neither can your passengers. If you’re caught driving under the influence, you can get a DUI.
You can legally get pulled over if you’re suspected of driving impaired, even if you aren’t swerving or driving erratically. A drug recognition officer will likely be called to the scene, and they’ll investigate the situation.
You may be required to perform a sobriety test. If you fail the test, you could go to jail or be required to have someone come pick you (and your car) up.
Keep in mind, too, that if you have cannabis in the car with you, it needs to be sealed and in the trunk or behind the last row of seats in the vehicle. Otherwise, you may end up with a hefty fine.
3. Where You Can Legally Light Up
The state laws are lenient, but that doesn’t mean everywhere you go is your cannabis playground. As a general rule, it’s illegal to use cannabis in public. From there, the distinctions get more precise, depending on where you are.
Private residences and businesses are allowed to choose whether to let their guests smoke weed on the premises. For instance, an Airbnb owner or hotel management can legally allow you to smoke weed, but they might choose not to exercise this right.
Consuming cannabis when you’re in a national park or the grounds surrounding one is off-limits, too. You can’t smoke on the roads or on government-run properties, either.
4. Bringing Your Own Weed
Whether you can bring your cannabis into the state or not depends on your travel plans. The laws depend on the jurisdiction that governs how you’re getting around.
Let’s say, for instance, that you’re planning on flying into Alaska. You know that it’s illegal to have cannabis in your possession in an airport. You get around this by storing it in your checked bag. However, even this way, you still take a chance that your bag will be inspected.
If that happens, the laws that exist in that state supersede those of your destination. So, the airport that checks your luggage could be in a non-weed-friendly state, and you may lose your stash, plus get fined.
Some people assume driving into the state is a safe way to get around the restrictions. The opposite is true, though.
According to Canada’s travel laws, you should never try to cross from Canada into the U.S. (or vice versa) with cannabis. You may be denied entry or arrested and prosecuted.
Whether you take the chance to bring your own weed or not is up to you. But since it’s so easy to find a dispensary in Alaska, it’s probably not worth the headache and possible consequences.
A visit to Alaska could very well be the trip of a lifetime. Now that you can legally use marijuana while you’re there, nothing is stopping you from making this amazing experience happen.