Ask a Trooper

Posted: Monday, January 07, 2002

Question: I have a 17-year-old daughter who said several people have tried to convince her that marijuana is legal for personal use. There is nothing she can say to convince them differently. I know at one time a small amount was legal.

Answer: Unless your daughter's friends are among the few people who are legally registered patients for very specific medical purposes, no amount of marijuana in possession is legal under state statutes in Alaska. The crime is called 'misconduct involving a controlled substance.' The potential penalties vary in degrees depending on the type of drug, quantity possessed, where it is used and whether it is being manufactured or sold.

Using or possessing any amount of marijuana less than a half pound is a class B misdemeanor. It goes up from there. It is true there was a period of time when small amounts were legal under state law for personal use, but that law changed in 1990.

Tell your daughter to tell her friends this: Maybe the legal consequences of getting caught don't scare them. But someday they may want to apply for a job that they hadn't even considered at this point in their life, and that job may require a criminal background check. Up pops a 'misconduct involving a controlled substance' charge on their record, and there goes the dream job. Then they might realize that smoking dope closed doors to their future they didn't yet know existed.

If you have questions you would like to ask a trooper, send them to Alaska State Troopers, P.O. Box 817, Seward, AK 99664 or e-mail them to The Alaska State Troopers remind you to always wear your seat belt. It's the law.

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