Know the Law
For more information on Alaska marijuana laws, please visit the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, Marijuana Board's Marijuana Initiative FAQs web page.
What are the laws about marijuana and driving?
Driving while impaired is illegal and unsafe. Getting high before you drive could get you arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). This is still true even though marijuana is legal for adults. If you are high, you should not drive, bike, or operate machinery. Marijuana use affects:
- Reaction time
- Short-term memory
- Hand-eye coordination
- Perception of time and distance
Some people may think that they are “safe” drivers while stoned since they drive more slowly. However, research shows that driving while high may double your risk of a crash.
Even if marijuana is used medically, officers can arrest you based on impaired driving behaviors.
How long should I wait to drive after using marijuana?
Like alcohol and other drugs, marijuana affects people differently. Many factors come into play. What we do know is that marijuana can impact the ability to drive, bike, and do other activities. This impairment makes things like driving a car, ATV, snow machine or bike unsafe. The effects can last longer than users think. Here are a few simple rules of thumb:
- The more THC a person smokes or consumes, the greater the impairment will be.
- The effects of marijuana can take longer to develop and last longer when eating or consuming marijuana.
- Though a person might feel safe to drive after 2 to 3 hours, impairment can last much longer. As with other drugs, judgment is impacted when getting high.
- Using alcohol and marijuana at the same time results in greater driving impairment than using either one alone.
- If you are impaired and need to get somewhere, do not get behind the wheel. Let someone who is sober drive. If you have no designated driver, take a bus, call a cab, or organize some other safe means of transportation.
- In the end, law enforcement decides whether or not an individual is driving impaired. Driving high is a DUI.
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This overview will let you know what is legal in Alaska for personal-use marijuana. However, cities and communities are allowed to pass even stricter laws. Be sure to review your local laws in case the rules differ from what you read here.
- How old do I have to be to consume marijuana?
You must be 21 years old to use marijuana products. It is illegal to give marijuana to minors.
- Can I smoke or consume pot while in the park with my friends?
Not in Alaska. Again, the law bans all public use of any marijuana, not just smoking. This means it is illegal to use marijuana in schools, amusement venues, businesses, parks, playgrounds, sidewalks, or roads, just to name a few. And since marijuana is still illegal federally, you cannot use it on federal land -- not in national parks and national forests.
- So where can I use marijuana?
Private property is your best bet, though some property owners or homeowners associations may have policies that prohibit marijuana use. Check your local laws and with hotel owners and landlords prior to consuming marijuana. When using marijuana in your home, keep in mind that secondhand smoke, whether from tobacco or marijuana, can be dangerous. Make your home smoke-free to limit your loved ones’ exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Can I use marijuana while I am cruising around town?
No. You cannot use marijuana while operating any motorized vehicle, including cars, snowmachines, boats, ATVs, airplanes – basically anything with a motor. You can also get a DUI while operating any aircraft or watercraft, whether motorized or not. (AS 28.35.030)
- Can I get a DUI for driving while high?
Yes. Driving while impaired is illegal. It doesn’t matter what substance you are using. If you are not sure whether you are impaired, do not drive.
- What about marijuana possession for teens and young adults under age 21?
It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess marijuana.
- Can I grow my own product?
Adults age 21 and over can possess, grow, and give away as many as six marijuana plants. Only three of the plants can be mature and flowering at any one time.
- Can I take marijuana out of the state?
No. It is illegal to leave Alaska with any marijuana products.
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