Know Your Rights
THC operates under the provisions of the Alaska Medical Marijuana Act, Title 17, Chapter 37 of the Alaska Code Annotated. However, some local jurisdictions may place additional restrictions on your rights as a medical cannabis patient. You must determine what your local guidelines are. Until federal law catches up with Alaska’s progressive stance, possession of medical cannabis remains illegal under federal law. The good people at Americans for Safe Access have prepared the following guidelines for patients who use medicinal cannabis, should you have occasion to interact with law enforcement officers.
Americans for Safe Access says:
Medical Marijuana Patients, Be Smart! Many arrests for cannabis possession are due to traffic violations and noise complaints.
- Travel Safely: Do not smoke and drive. If you travel with cannabis, make sure your vehicle is up to code and your cannabis is concealed, preferably in your trunk.
- Be a Good Neighbor: Loud music and domestic disputes can lead law enforcement to your home.
- Be Discreet: Try not to smoke where others can see you and never leave cannabis items in plain view. Don’t Consent to a Search!
- If the cops say: “Do you mind if I look in your purse, bag, home, or car?” You say: “I do not consent to a search.” When cops say: “Why not? Are you hiding something?” You say: “I believe in my Constitutional right to privacy and I do not consent to a search.”
Note: this probably will not stop an officer from searching you, but it can help get any evidence thrown out in court.
Do NOT let an officer into your home without a search warrant. Check the address, the date (reasonably recent), and a judge’s signature. If law enforcement knocks on your door, step outside and close the door behind you while you find out why they are there. Don’t leave the door open. If they do enter your home with or without a search warrant, say “I do not consent to a search.”
Exercise Your Rights!
There are 3 levels of police interactions and safe ways to handle each encounter.
- ‘Casual Conversation’: Ask if you are being detained. If not, walk away.
- Detention: If you are being detained, ask why! Make them cite the law (and remember what they say)!
- Arrest: Say “I choose to remain silent and I want to see a lawyer” (Remember to remain silent.)
ASA provides a wallet-sized card that contains all of the above information. Go to www.safeaccessnow.org for this and much more valuable information.