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Alaska Beat

Fuzzy Alaska marijuana laws pretty clear about toking on the street

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published August 17, 2012

Even though in Alaska a certain amount of marijuana possession is quasi-legal in the privacy of one's own home, in public, it's still illegal. Therefore, smoking a joint in public is risky, and being caught by an officer of the law whilst smoking a joint in public is a quick way to a ticket. Unless, of course, you try to eat the evidence.

According to the Juneau Empire, a local man caught taking the pot while on a public street in Juneau, Alaska's capital city, did just that when confronted by a police officer who "smelled the marijuana."

Police spokesman Lt. David Campbell told the Empire that an officer was patrolling the downtown area on Friday when he noticed the distinctive and pungent bouquet most commonly attributed to the burning tip of a mummy finger.

The officer, following his nose like Toucan Sam to Froot Loops -- soon located the source of the aroma: a youthful, male pedestrian.

The unnamed 24-year-old, upon spotting the fuzz, did what many do in a moment of panic. He gobbled down the joint, burning ember and all. The cannabis consumer was not arrested, Campbell said, but a "tampering with evidence" charge was filed against him.

But here's the thing. Possession of marijuana is only a class 'B' misdemeanor in the state of Alaska, but evidence tampering is a class 'C' felony.

A 'B' misdemeanor is "a step above running a red light," according to Campbell, while a C felony is punishable by up to five years in prison AND a $50,000 fine. No matter how high one is, it's pretty easy to tell which is worse.

Lesson of the day: It sounds intuitive, but once the authorities spot you smoking weed, the jig's up. They know. You know. Don't eat the joint. It only makes things worse, both legally and digestively.

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