Becoming a Patient in Alaska

Summary

Any patient with a valid registry card may legally use marijuana for medicinal purposes and their caregiver may assist them in doing so.  You can possess paraphernalia associated with growing or consuming marijuana for medical use.[1] All patients MUST enroll in the state patient registry and possess a valid identification card in order to be legally protected.[2]  A copy of a registry identification card is not valid.[3]  A damaged card is not valid.[4]

You cannot be arrested or penalized simply for applying for a medical marijuana ID card.[5]

What's Allowed

Between you and your caregiver, you can legally possess six marijuana plants, only three of which may be mature enough to bear usable marijuana, plus one ounce of marijuana in usable form.[6]  If you violate these limits, you can be prohibited from obtaining or using a registry identification card for a period of one (1) year.[7]

Access

The state will not help you grow marijuana, or provide seeds or starter plants. You are only allowed to transport marijuana directly to or from your primary caregiver, or directly to a place where you can legally have or use it (e.g. from the garden to your home).[8]  You cannot walk around with an ounce in your pocket all the time.[9]  Obviously, you cannot sell or give your marijuana to anyone else.[10]

Consumption of Medical Marijuana

Don't be dangerous (i.e., don't drive under the influence)[11], and don't be obvious (i.e., don't smoke in public or flash your stash).[12]  That is still illegal. Don't use medical marijuana within 500 feet of school grounds; at or within 500 feet of a recreation or youth center; or on a school bus.[13]

Caregiver

Patients may designate a primary caregiver (or alternate caregiver) to assist with acquiring, cultivating and using medical cannabis.[14]   A primary caregiver must be at least 21 years old, not currently on probation or parole, and can't have been convicted of a drug-related felony.[15]  They must apply with the registry to be a caregiver.[16]  And to be legally covered, they must be in physical possession of the caregiver registry identification card.[17]  They can only be the caregiver for one patient at a time unless the patients are related to them by at least the "fourth degree of kinship" (i.e. cousins).[18]

A caregiver may legally possess six marijuana plants, only three of which may be mature enough to bear usable marijuana, plus one ounce of marijuana in usable form.  Violating limits can result in being barred from the program for one year.[19]

Age Limits

If you are a minor, you need a statement by your parent or guardian that your doctor has explained the risks and benefits of marijuana.[20]  Also, your parent or guardian has to be your primary caregiver and needs to control your possession and use of marijuana.[21]

Application Process

To apply to be a legal medical marijuana patient, follow the instructions and fill out the forms in this packet:

http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/VitalStats/Documents/PDFs/MedicalMarijuana.pdf

It includes forms for the patient, doctor, primary caregiver and alternate caregiver.  Send in the originals of these forms, but keep copies of all your records.[22]  You also need to send a copy of your driver’s license or ID card.  There is a $25 fee;[23] make a check or money order payable to the Bureau of Vital Statistics.

If you are denied, or if there is anything wrong with the paperwork in your application, you cannot reapply for 6 months.[24]

You need to update your registration every year, with all documentation, even if it hasn't changed, including a new signed physician's statement.[25] The fee for the renewal is $20.[26]  If your card has already expired, they'll treat your application as a first-time application, not as a renewal.[27]

If there has been a change in your physician, name, address, or that of your caregiver, you must notify the Department of the change within 10 days.[28]  If you no longer have an eligible medical condition, you and your caregiver must return all registry ID cards to the Department within 24 hours of receiving the diagnosis.[29]

Doctor

Your doctor needs to have personally examined you within the last 16 months.[30]  The state of Alaska will not help you find a doctor.

Confidentiality

Alaska's medical marijuana registry and the information contained within it are not a public record.[31]  Police and government officials can only access the registry to check if you are a lawful patient.[32]

Housing

The law does not specifically address 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, it does not address whether you can live in subsidized housing.  However, with the passage of Measure 2, the law now provides that it will not prohibit “a person…corporation or any other entity who occupies, owns or controls private property from prohibiting or otherwise regulating the possession, consumption, use, display, transfer, distribution, sale, transportation or growing of marijuana on or in that property.”[33]  Furthermore, it is prohibited to use medical marijuana on or within 500 feet of school grounds or a recreation or youth center.[34]

The law does not require a jail, the hospital, or like facility to accommodate your use of medical marijuana.[35]

Insurance

Your insurance will not cover medical marijuana expenses.[36]

Reciprocity

Rhode Island and Michigan should recognize your Alaska medical marijuana registry identification card.



[1] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.070.

[2] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.030(a).

[3] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.010(m).

[4] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.010(m).

[5] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.030(b).

[6] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.040(a)(4).

[7] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.040(b).

[8] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.040(a)(2).

[9] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.040(a)(2).

[10] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.040(a)(3).

[11] Alaska Stat. §§ 28.35.030; 17.38.220(b).

[12] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.040(a)(2).

[13] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.040(d).

[14] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.010(d).

[15] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.010(d).

[16] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.010(d).

[17] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.010(q).

[18] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.010(e).

[19] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.040(b).

[20] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.010(c)(3).

[21] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.010(c)(3).

[22] 7 AAC 34.020.

[23] 7 AAC 34.080.

[24] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.010(i).

[25] 7 AAC 34.070(a).

[26] 7 AAC 34.080(b).

[27] 7 AAC 34.070(b).

[28] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.010(g); 7 AAC 34.090.

[29] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.010(h); 7 AAC 34.090(b).

[30] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.010(r).

[31] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.010(a).

[32] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.010(a); 7 AAC 34.100.

[33] Alaska Stat. § 17.38.220.

[34] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.040(d).

[35] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.040(d)(2).

[36] Alaska Stat. § 17.37.040(c).