Surviving Alaska: Legal Marijuana And Your Vacation

Well, this week was rather anti-climactic and over hyped.  No, I’m not talking about the raising of Alaska’s minimum wage to $8.75.  I’m referencing, as of February 24th, 2014 recreational marijuana is now legal in Alaska.

Photo courtesy of Breaking Bad.  It's the closest thing I could find to a smoking motorhome.  Yes, I know it was a completely different thing smoking inside this RV.
Photo courtesy of Breaking Bad. It’s the closest thing I could find to a smoking motorhome. Yes, I know this isn’t Alaska and it’s a completely different thing smoking inside this RV.

The week preceding February 24th,  the pro recreational marijuana crowd was getting ready to celebrate and the anti recreational marijuana crowd was still preaching their negative opinions about the new law.

Photo courtesy of bigmarijuanabigmistake.org
Photo courtesy of bigmarijuanabigmistake.org
Photo courtesy of http://regulatemarijuanainalaska.org
Photo courtesy of http://regulatemarijuanainalaska.org

The Alaska ABC Board (Alcoholic Beverage Control) is doing the best they can to work out the details of the newly enacted law.  There have been trips to Washington and Colorado to learn from those who have already legalized recreational marijuana.


 

So you may ask, how does this affect RV’ers?  That is still to be determined.    I called ABC Enforcement Supervisor Robert Beasley and asked “Is it legal to consume marijuana in a RV?”  He replied, “That is a very good question.”

Our conversation continued as he explained how RV’s have not been discussed yet but it’s an excellent question and one that will be addressed very soon.  One thing he emphasized was the Alaska Constitution gives Alaskans a lot of freedom and they are doing their very best to uphold those constitutional freedoms as they develop the details.

I haven’t seen too many changes since February 24th.  There will be no legal retail establishments until the middle of 2016.  You will not see people walking the streets smoking marijuana, because it’s illegal!  You are probably just as likely as before to see someone smoking a joint on a hiking trail or around a campfire, that will never change.


There are a couple new businesses skirting the law or working under some loop holes since voters legalized recreational marijuana.

Both of these new businesses have had encounters with the law. The Alaska Cannabis Club had their records seized in March 2015 and a Discreet Beliefs delivery driver was arrested in January 2015.  To the best of my knowledge both of these businesses are still up and running.


By now you might be wondering about my opinion on the subject.  I’m for individual freedoms.  Especially, when it comes to a plant that is a fraction as dangerous as alcohol and has proven medical benefits.

I could also be considered a conspiracy theorist, because of the following beliefs

  • Big pharmaceutical corporations don’t want competition from a plant that can treat or even cure diseases.  There is no profit in curing a disease, but if a patient takes your medicine for years there is a lot of money to be made.
  • The wood and paper corporations don’t like Hemp.  Hemp grows faster and yields more product than trees.  It is also better for the environment and reduces deforestation.

Plus, it’s easier for kids to get drugs like marijuana than alcohol, because drug dealers don’t ask for identification.  Now we are taking it out of the hands of drug dealers.

I also believe there is not enough personal accountability in our society.  People really need to step up and be accountable for their actions.  Kids need to be taught how to make good decisions and their actions have consequences.  If your job drug tests and marijuana is prohibited, don’t smoke it!  It’s just that simple.  There is no reason government needs to control our every move.

Photo courtesy of the movie Super Troopers.
Photo courtesy of the movie Super Troopers.

My ultimate goal is to keep my fellow RV’ers safe and help them avoid unpleasant encounters with the troopers.  Please routinely check the ABC Boards FAQ’s for up to date information on the new law.

Photo courtesy of Cheech and Chong.
Photo courtesy of Cheech and Chong.  Please do not drive under the influence of any substance.

I encourage everyone to use exercise good judgement as it pertains to recreational marijuana.  Please reference our previous post in our recreational marijuana series.  As this budding topic develops we will be sure to keep you informed.


Update: March 2015:  I had an engaging conversation with Cynthia Franklin from the Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board about the subject of consuming cannabis in an RV.  She expressed that there will probably be no specific laws generated on the subject, but more importantly to look at the laws defining public spaces.

Based on the emergency regulation filed by Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott on February 24, 2015, in AS 17.38.040, “in public” means in a place to which the public or a substantial group of persons has access and includes highways, transportation facilities, schools, places of amusement or business, parks, playgrounds, prisons, and hallways, lobbies, and other portions of apartment houses and hotels not constituting rooms or apartments designed for actual residence.

As our conversation progressed, we both agreed in the beginning law enforcement officers will have to address certain issues as they arise.  We also agreed, law enforcement officers usually have more pressing issues than someone smoking cannabis in their RV.

In Conclusion: Still exercise good judgement and be considerate of others.

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