Each year, more and more states legalize marijuana medicinally, recreationally or both. In Alaska, both are legal. However, the state still has laws regarding its proper use. Only those who are at least 21 years old can possess or use the substance, but they must not do so in any public area, especially on federal property, as marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
The highest focus, though, tends to be on how marijuana affects driving. It is still a substance treated much like alcohol, prescription medicine and illicit substances. Knowing and following Alaska law regarding marijuana and driving can prevent you from getting into trouble.
Marijuana is not without its side effects. Regardless if you take it for recreational purposes or for pain, it causes impairment. How much and at what rate depend on the following factors:
- Amount of THC
- Mode of consumption
- Alcohol use
- Personal traits such as age and health
After using marijuana, your judgment capacity, reaction time, coordination, concentration, memory and spatial perception all decrease. These changes raise the likelihood of you causing or getting into an accident on the road.
Although no legal limit exists to determine intoxication, it is not necessary for you to receive a DUI. Just as with drunk driving, if a police officer notices that you are impaired, he or she can charge you with a DUI regardless of the amount of marijuana in your system. If the substance has affected you, then you are at risk for criminal charges if behind the wheel.
A conviction leads to a short jail time and a substantial fine for a first offense, with penalties increasing for subsequent offenses, the presence of children in the vehicle or the refusal of a chemical test. When using marijuana, it is best to follow the same rules for alcohol: find a designated driver, use another form of transportation or spend the night until completely sober.