Alaska Was First To Legalize Weed 39 Years Ago

By October 16, 2014Marijuana Laws, US State Laws


Be prepared to forget everything you’ve known about legalization. Well, not exactly everything, only the first states to jump on board. You thought that Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use? Think again. New surprising research says something else – Alaska did it first, 39 years ago, with a court case. According to Washington post, in 1975, the Supreme Court in Alaska ruled in case Ravin v. State that “the right to possess, cultivate and consume small amounts of marijuana in the home was protected under the state Constitution’s right to privacy.”

Constitutional privacy protections cover the personal possession

Because of that ruling, the law in Alaska allows the citizens of legal age to possess up to four ounces of weed in their homes – and up to 25 plants – but you have to keep your smoking and growing indoors at all times. We’re slightly lost for words. It’s simply amazing that, with all the attention around legalization efforts, all the media talks and headlines, the people of Alaska already had the job done – and didn’t even know it. Naturally, the ruling has seen some opposition during these 39 years and has been placed into legal no-man’s-land here and then due to various legislative changes. But no matter what happened, the courts of Alaska have upheld the idea and belief that Constitutional privacy protections cover the personal possession, cultivation and use of marijuana in Alaska. If you’re thinking we’re making this up, there is a comprehensive history of Alaska marijuana law out there, if you’re into these things (for whatever the reason) we highly recommend the read. It has everything you need to know about how Alaskans still have a constitutional right to possess marijuana in the privacy of their homes. Actually, we’re probably going to repeat that a couple of more times throughout this text just because it sounds awesome.

A ballot measure that criminalized marijuana

We mentioned earlier there was this legal limbo the Alaskan ruling has been placed into during these 39 years. For instance, there was this 1990 state ballot measure that criminalized marijuana. However, there was also this other time that occurred during 2001 when a guy who goes by the name of David Noy was arrested after police found five pot plants growing in the basement of his North Pole home. He didn’t deny he had marijuana in his house as well as some plants growing in his basement. He just didn’t think he should go to jail because of it. And the second-highest court in Alaska has agreed with him. He said a 1990 ballot was unconstitutional because it violated the right to privacy guaranteed to every Alaskan. How fabulous must have been to hear that the Court believes that the danger to society from marijuana is not as great as the danger of government intrusion into people’s homes?


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