Multiple places have decriminalized non-medical cannabis in the United States; however, cannabis is illegal under federal law. Gonzales v. Raich (2005) held in a 6-3 decision that the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution allowed the federal government to ban the use of cannabis, including medical use even if local laws allow it. Most places that have decriminalized cannabis have civil fines, drug education, or drug treatment in place of incarceration and/or criminal charges for possession of small amounts of cannabis, or have made various cannabis offenses the lowest priority for law enforcement.
In 1975, Alaska removed all penalties for possession (not sale) of cannabis under 4 ounces in one’s residence or home. Also, the ruling allowed up to 24 private, noncommercial growing plants. Sale of less than 28.349 grams is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine; at the time, in most states sale of less than 28.349 grams was a felony offense. 2006 court rulings have upheld the legal status of private possession up to the one ounce level relating to the particulars in that specific legal challenge. This leaves the one to four ounce range, and the live plant totals in a confused legal status, presumably involving criminal consequences.
With the 1975 Ravin v. State decision, the Alaska Supreme Court declared the state’s anti-drug law unconstitutional with respect to possession of small amounts of cannabis, holding that the right to privacy guaranteed by the Constitution of Alaska outweighed the state’s interest in banning the drug