Cannabis in Alaska

Cannabis in Alaska is legal for recreational use, following a successful 2014 ballot initiative.


Ravin v. State (1975)

Ravin v. State, 537 P.2d 494 (Alaska 1975), was a 1975 decision by the Alaska Supreme Court that held the Alaska Constitution's right to privacy protects an adult's ability to use and possess a small amount of marijuana in the home for personal use.[1] The Alaska Supreme Court thereby became the first—and only—state or federal court to announce a constitutional privacy right that protects some level of marijuana use and possession.[1]

Decriminalization (1982)

In 1982, following the Ravin decision, Alaska's legislature decriminalized possession of up to 4 ounces of cannabis in the home, or one ounce outside the home.[2]

Recriminalization (1990)

Alaska Measure 2 (1990) or the Alaska Marijuana Criminalization Initiative was a successful 1990 ballot measure in the U.S. state of Alaska; the initiative stated that it: "would change Alaska's laws by making all such possession of marijuana criminal, with possible penalties of up to 90 days in jail and/or up to a $1000 fine."

Recriminalization struck down (2003)

Noy v. State is a case decided by the Alaska Court of Appeals in 2003. David S. Noy was convicted of possessing less than eight ounces of marijuana by a jury. However, in 1975, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in Ravin v. State that possessing less than four ounces of marijuana in one's home is protected by the Alaska Constitution's privacy clause. The amount possessed being over four ounces was highly in question on appeal. Thus, the Alaska Court of Appeals overturned Noy's conviction and struck down the part of the law criminalizing possession of less than four ounces of marijuana.[3]

Legalization (2014)

Alaska Measure 2 was a successful 2014 ballot measure, described as "An Act to tax and regulate the production, sale, and use of marijuana."[4] The measure went into effect on 24 February 2015, allowing Alaskans age 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis and six plants, making Alaska the third state to legalize recreational marijuana, following Colorado and Washington.[5] Oregon and Alaska both voted in legalization on Election Day 2014, but Alaska preceded Oregon in enacting their legislation.


  1. 1 2 Brandeis 2012, p. 175.
  2. Matthew Lippman (22 August 2013). Essential Criminal Law. SAGE Publications. pp. 298–. ISBN 978-1-4833-2447-0.
  4. "Full Initiative Text | Campaign to Regulate Marijuana in Alaska". Retrieved 2015-04-20.
  5. AP 11:18 a.m. EST February 24, 2015 (2015-02-24). "Alaska becomes 3rd state with legal marijuana". Retrieved 2015-04-20.
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