Table of Contents
- Becoming a Patient
- How to Become a Medical Marijuana Patient in the State of Alaska
- Registration Fee
- Eligible Medical Conditions "Debilitating Medical Condition"
- Written Certification Must be Provided to Prove Eligibility
- Finding a Doctor
- Renewal Applications
- Age Limits
- Personal Records
- Limitations and Protections under Initiative
- Possession and Growing Limitations
- Consumption of Medical Marijuana
- Paraphernalia Associated with Medical Use
- Access to Medical Marijuana
- Growing/Dispensing Collectives and Cooperatives
- Law Enforcement
The Alaska state medical marijuana law creates a confidential statewide registry (AS 17.37.010) of medical marijuana patients and caregivers with ID cards all registered individuals. Any patient with a valid registry card may legally use marijuana for medicinal purposes and their caregiver may assist them in doing so.
Under the Alaska Medical Marijuana Statute AS 17.37.010, patients and caregivers must complete the appropriate following forms:
The application for registry ID card must be completed by the applicant, and the physician statement must be completed by the patient's physician. If a primary or alternate caregiver is specified, the caregiver application form must be completed.
The following information should help you understand the law better by explaining how to become a patient, as well as the laws and restrictions which registered patients are required to follow.
II. Becoming a Patient
A. How to Become a Medical Marijuana Patient in the State of Alaska
A patient who has been diagnosed with the applicable conditions (shown below) and wishes to become a registered medical marijuana patient in the state of Alaska must fill out an application form. Under AS 17.37.010(c), the following must be included in the Application for Registry Identification Card for Medical Use of Marijuana:
- A statement signed by the patient's physician (described below);
- A sworn application on a form provided by the department containing the following information:
- The name, address, date of birth, and Alaska driver's license or identification card number of the patient;
- The name, address, and telephone number of the patient's physician; and
- The name, address, and date of birth, and Alaska driver's license or identification card number of the patient's primary caregiver and alternate caregiver if either is designated at the time of application, along with the statements required under 17.37.010(d).
The patient applicant must, in addition to submitting the necessary fees with the application, provide a legible photocopy of the Alaska State Driver's License or Identification Card of the patient and all caregivers.
Prior to mailing the application, the applicant should review it to be sure that all required information has been completed. If the application is not complete, it will be denied and the applicant will not be allowed to reapply for a period of six months. Please make your check or money order payable to the Bureau of Vital Statistics and mail it along with the application to the following address:
Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 110699
Juneau, AK 99811-0699
The State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health (the Department), recommends that applicants use "Return Receipt Service" for mailing to be sure that the medical marijuana application and fees are received by the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics.
Under the Alaska Medical Marijuana law, (AS 17.37.010(i)), a person may not apply for a registry identification card more than once every six months. When there has been a change in the name, address, or physician of a patient who has qualified for a registry identification card, or a change in the name or address of the patient's primary caregiver or alternate caregiver, that patient must notify the department of the change within 10 days.
The Department requires patients to update their registry annually. A patient must annually resubmit updated written documentation, including a statement signed by the patient's physician containing the information required to be submitted under (c)(1) of this section, to the department, as well as the name and address of the patient's primary caregiver or alternate caregiver, if any. (AS 17.37.010(k))
Alaska state law also mandates that a patient who no longer has a debilitating medical condition and the patient's primary caregiver, if any, shall return all registry identification cards to the department within 24 hours of receiving the diagnosis by the patient's physician (AS 17.37.010(l)).
According to AS 17.37.010(m), a copy of a registry identification card is not valid. A registry identification card is not valid if the card has been altered, mutilated in a way that impairs its legibility or laminated. The Department always has the right to revoke a patient's registration if the Department determines that the patient has violated a provision of this chapter or AS 11.71.
For any further questions or concerns, the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics can be contacted at (907) 465-5423.
B. Registration Fee
A nonrefundable fee (under 7 AAC 34.070(b)) of $25.00 is required to obtain a Registry Identification Card for Medical Use of Marijuana. For renewal applications, there is a $20.00 fee.
C. Eligible Medical Conditions "Debilitating Medical Condition"
Under AS 17.37.070(4), a "debilitating medical condition" means:
- Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or treatment for any of these conditions;
- Any chronic of debilitating disease of treatment of such diseases, which produces, for a specific patient, one or more of the following, and for which, in the professional opinion of the patient's physician, such condition or conditions reasonably may be alleviated by the medical use of marijuana: cachexia; severe pain; severe nausea; seizures, including those that are characteristic of epilepsy; or persistent muscle spasms, including those that are characteristic of multiple sclerosis; or
- Any other medical condition, or treatment for such condition, approved by the department, under regulations adopted under AS 17.37.060 or approval of a petition submitted under AS 17.37.060.
D. Written Certification Must be Provided to Prove Eligibility
The federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, which means that licensed medical practitioners cannot "prescribe" it. Your physician can only "recommend" the use of medical marijuana.
In order to be placed on the state's confidential registry for the medical use of marijuana, an adult patient or a parent or guardian of a minor patient shall provide the following to the Department:
- A statement signed by the patient's physician:
- Stating that the physician personally examined the patient and that the examination took place in the context of a bona-fide physician-patient relationship and setting out the date the examination occurred;
- Stating that the patient has been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition; and
- Stating that the physician has considered other approved medications and treatments that might provide relief, that are reasonably available to the patient, and that can be tolerated by the patient, and that the physician has concluded that the patient might benefit from the medical use of marijuana.
- A sworn application on a form provided by the Department containing the name, address, and telephone number of the patient's physician.
Under AS 17.37.010(r), the Department may not register a patient under this section unless the statement of the patient's physician discloses that the patient was personally examined by the physician within the 16-month period immediately preceding the patient's application. The Department retains the right to cancel, suspend, revoke, or not renew the registration of a patient who was not personally examined by a physician within the 16-month period.
E. Finding a Doctor
The state of Alaska will not help a patient find a doctor who is willing to recommend medical marijuana. It is completely up to the patient, in the course of a bona-fide doctor patient relationship, to obtain a recommendation for the medical use of marijuana.
F. Renewal Applications
Renewal Applications submitted after a registry identification card has expired will be considered a new application and the applicant will be required to pay the fee for first-time applicants. See above for applicable fees.
G. Age Limits
The law is as follows with regards to patients below the age of eighteen. If the patient is a minor, a statement by the minor's parent or guardian that the patient's physician has explained the possible risks and benefits of medical use of marijuana is required. In addition, the parent or guardian must consent to serve as the primary caregiver for the patient and to control the acquisition, possession, dosage, and frequency of use of marijuana by the patient. See above section entitled, I. Introduction, for the necessary links to pdf forms.
H. Personal Records
Americans for Safe Access strongly urges all medical marijuana patients to keep copies of everything you send to the state government at any time now or in the future.
III. Limitations and Protections under the Initiative
A. Possession and Growing Limitations
A patient or the patient's caregiver may possess, in the aggregate, no more than:
- One ounce of marijuana in usable form;
- Six marijuana plants, with no more than three mature and flowering plants producing usable marijuana at any one time.
A patient found by a preponderance of the evidence to have knowingly violated the provisions of this chapter shall be precluded from obtaining or using a registry identification card for the medical use of marijuana for a period of one year. In this subsection, "knowingly" has the meaning given in AS 11.81.900 of the criminal code.
B. Consumption of Medical Marijuana
A patient, primary caregiver, or alternate caregiver may not:
- Engage in the medical use of marijuana in a way that endangers the health or well-being of any person.
- Engage in the medical use of marijuana in plain view of, or in a place open to, the general public; this paragraph does not prohibit a patient or primary caregiver from possessing marijuana in a place open to the general public if it is in a closed container carried on the person and is not visible to anyone other than the patient or primary caregiver.
The possession is limited to that necessary to transport the marijuana directly to the patient or primary caregiver or directly to a place where the patient or primary caregiver may lawfully possess or use the marijuana. A patient, primary caregiver, or alternate caregiver may not sell or distribute marijuana to any person, except that a patient may deliver marijuana to the patient's primary caregiver and a primary caregiver may deliver marijuana to the patient for whom the caregiver is listed.
The Alaska state medical marijuana law does not protect medical marijuana use on or within 500 feet of school grounds; at or within 500 feet of a recreation or youth center; or on a school bus.
C. Paraphernalia Associated with Medical Use
Paraphernalia associated with medical use is permitted under Alaska law. "Medical use" is defined in the Alaska medical marijuana statute as the acquisition, possession, cultivation, use, and/or transportation of marijuana and/or paraphernalia related to the administration of such marijuana to address the symptoms or effects of a debilitating medical condition only after a physician has authorized such medical use by a diagnosis of the patient's debilitating medical condition.
D. Access to Medical Marijuana
The Alaska state medical marijuana law does not provide any method for patients to receive medical marijuana. There is no place in the State of Alaska to legally purchase medical marijuana. Qualified medical marijuana patients cannot go to a pharmacy to fill a prescription for medical marijuana. Pharmacies can only dispense medications that are "prescribed."
Marijuana is currently classified by the federal government as a Schedule I drug. This means that it cannot be "prescribed" by any health care professional. Alaska state medical marijuana law only allows doctors to "recommend" medical marijuana. Patients or their caregivers are allowed to grow medical marijuana only for the patient's private use, but makes no provisions for a supply or source. The State of Alaska will not supply any registered patients or caregivers with seeds or starter plants, nor will they give any patients or caregivers any advice on how to grow medical marijuana.
E. Growing/Dispensing Collectives and Cooperatives
The Alaska State medical marijuana law does not allow for Dispensing Collectives or Cooperatives. Specifically, a patient, primary caregiver, or alternate caregiver may not sell or distribute marijuana to any person, except that a patient may deliver marijuana to the patient's primary caregiver and a primary caregiver may deliver marijuana to the patient for whom the caregiver is listed.
Under AS 17.37.010(c), in order to be placed on the state's confidential registry for the medical use of marijuana, an adult patient or a parent or guardian of a minor patient shall provide to the Department a sworn application of a form provided by the department containing the following information:
- The name, address, date of birth, and Alaska driver's license or identification card number of the patient's primary caregiver and alternate caregiver if either is designated at the time of application, along with the statements required under (d) of this section.
Under AS 17.37.010(d), a person may be listed as the primary caregiver or alternate caregiver for a patient if the person submits a sworn statement on a form provided by the Department that the person:
- Is at least 21 years of age;
- Has never been convicted of a felony offense under AS 11.71 or AS 11.73 or a law or ordinance of another jurisdiction with elements similar to an offense under AS 11.71 or AS 11.73; and
- Is not currently on probation or parole from this or another jurisdiction.
Under AS 17.37.010(e), 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.
Under AS 17.37.010(q), a primary caregiver may only act as the primary caregiver for the patient when the primary caregiver is in physical possession of the caregiver registry identification card. An alternate caregiver is in physical possession of the caregiver registry identification card.
It is ASA's opinion that the decision of whether or not to tell your landlord that you are a medical marijuana patient rests with that patient. Nothing in the Alaska state medical marijuana law specifically addresses whether or not you can be evicted due to your status as a medical marijuana patient, even if you have only the amount of medical marijuana allowed by law. Also, the Alaska medical marijuana law does not address whether or not a person can be a medical marijuana patient and live in subsidized housing. If you have questions about these important issues, Americans for Safe Access recommends you talk to an attorney to learn about your rights and protections.
The Alaska medical marijuana law also does not address the issue of whether or not patients who live within 1000 feet of a school, AKA a "drug free zone" can still grow and/or possess medical marijuana there.
Additionally, the Alaska state medical marijuana law does not include any accommodation for medical marijuana use in any correctional facility, medical facility, or facility monitored by the Department or the Department of Administration.
Nothing in the Alaska medical marijuana law requires any accommodation for medical use of marijuana in a patient's place of employment. It is up to each patient to decide whether or not to tell their employer about their status as a registered medical marijuana patient.
Alaska Residents: Alaska currently has no reciprocity agreements with other states to honor Alaska's medical marijuana law. This includes even those states that currently have medical marijuana laws of their own.
However, in Montana, medical marijuana patients from other states who are valid medical marijuana patients under that state's law are protected under Section 4(8) of the Montana Medical Marijuana Act [Sec. 50-46-201(8), MCA]. A registry identification card or its equivalent issued by another state government to permit the medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient or to permit a person to assist with a qualifying patient's medical use of marijuana has the same force and effect as a registry identification card issued by the Department of Public Health and Human Services in Montana. Therefore, medical marijuana patients from Alaska should be protected in Montana under Montana state law. See the Montana Patients Guide for details on the protections and limitations that Montana state law affords medical marijuana patients.
Additionally, in Rhode Island, The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act (MMA) protects patients and primary caregivers from outside Rhode Island who have a state issued medical marijuana ID card, or its equivalent. The MMA states, “A registry identification card, or its equivalent, issued under the laws of another state, U.S. territory, or the District of Columbia to permit the medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient, or to permit a person to assist with a qualifying patient's medical use of marijuana, shall have the same force and effect as a registry identification card issued by the department.” Therefore, medical marijuana patients from the other medical marijuana states that have state issued cards should be protected in the state of Rhode Island. See the Rhode Island Patients Guide for more information.
In states with no medical marijuana program, marijuana use, regardless of a doctor's recommendation, is illegal. You may be arrested and charged with civil or criminal offenses in those states.
J. Law Enforcement
A patient, primary caregiver, or alternate caregiver registered with the Department under this chapter has an affirmative defense to a criminal prosecution related to marijuana for medical use. Except as otherwise provided by law, a person is not subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner for applying to have the person's name placed on the confidential registry maintained by the Department.
A person, including a patient, primary caregiver, or alternate caregiver, is not entitled to the protections of the Alaska medical marijuana law for the person's acquisition, cultivation, use, sale, distribution, or transportation of marijuana for nonmedical use.
The department will create and maintain a confidential registry of patients who have applied for and are entitled to receive a registry identification card according to the criteria set out above. The registry and the information contained within it are not a public record under AS 40.25.100 - 40.25.220.
Peace officers and authorized employees of state or municipal law enforcement agencies shall be granted access to the information contained within the Department's confidential registry only:
- For the purpose of verifying that an individual who has presented a registry identification card to a state or municipal law enforcement official is lawfully in possession of such card;
- For the purpose of determining that an individual who claims to be lawfully engaged in medical use of marijuana is registered or listed with the department.
Except as described above, no person, other than authorized employees of the Department in the course of their official duties, may be permitted to gain access to names of patients, physicians, primary or alternate caregivers, or any information related to such persons maintained in connection with the Department's confidential registry.
A governmental, private, or other health insurance provider is not liable for any claim for reimbursement for expenses associated with medical use of marijuana in the State of Alaska.
Alaska Medical Marijuana Cannabis Code