In response to the legalization of marijuana use in Alaska, Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz has issued updated standards of conduct for all employees of the Anchorage Archdiocese.
In a memo sent to all priests, deacons, religious employees and volunteers the archbishop instructed that all such pastoral ministers should refrain from “smoking, using, possessing or consuming marijuana in any form or being impaired by marijuana in the presence of; when working with; or while volunteering with minors or vulnerable adults.”
In addition to relaying the updated section of the archdiocesan code of conduct, the memo reiterated the existing prohibitions from illegal possession or use of drugs at all times, using alcohol when working with minors or vulnerable adults, using tobacco products in the presence of minors or vulnerable adults and using or possessing or being impaired from the use of alcohol or drugs any time while volunteering.
The Feb. 24 memo was effective immediately and comes on the heels of Alaska becoming the third state to legalize recreational use of marijuana, for those who are 21 or older.
The new law allows those in Alaska to possess, transport and display up to one ounce of marijuana, and it is legal to posses, grow, process and transport up to six marijuana plants.
Adults can now also give away up to an ounce of marijuana so long as they are not paid for doing so. The law does not allow for public consumption of marijuana, but the definition of “public” is up to local governments to define individually.
Any possession or use of marijuana on federal lands, including federal forest lands, remains illegal.