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State Regulations

The Legal Status of Cannabis in Maine

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Cannabis is legal in Maine for both medical and recreational use. The cannabis laws are an intricate meshwork, considering that the herb remains federally illegal. For example, one is allowed to carry not more than 2.5 oz. (71 g) and you can have an unlimited number of seedlings and plant three mature plants and also have twelve immature plants. Commercially licensed growers can also plant an unlimited number of cannabis plants.

Question 2 was voted in 1999 taking effect a year later which allowed patients to cultivate and possess medical marijuana with either an oral or written “professional opinion” gotten from their physician. In this state, patients who got arrested for possessing more than the allowable amount of cannabis may use a “simple defense” against the charges.

Amendments allowed for the establishment of both a confidential registry as well as an identification program for eligible patients. The state of Maine makes allowance for visiting medical marijuana patients who qualify and hold valid medical marijuana identification to access the program.

The qualifying conditions for cannabis medical treatment in the state of Maine include:

  • Chronic pain which has lasted for longer than six months and that does not respond to conventional treatment.
  • Severe Nausea
  • Cancer
  • Seizures
  • Severe Muscle Spasms
  • Wasting Syndrome (Cachexia)
  • IBDs include Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Nail Patella Syndrome
  • PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Possession is capped at 2.5 ounces of ready-to-use marijuana. Growing marijuana is limited to six plants only three of which should be mature at a time. Caregivers to medical cannabis patients must be 21 years and above.

Both recreational and medical use of cannabis is legal in the state of Maine.

Recreational marijuana became legal in the state of Maine through a ballot initiative, Question 1, which proposed statewide legalization of both the sale and use of marijuana. After all the precincts had reported in the win was by a slim 1 percent point leading to the opponents asked for a recount. The opponents of the measure however conceded on the 17, December 2016 after the recount results maintained the narrow win leading to the eventual legalization of cannabis.

The Journey of Cannabis Legalization in Maine

Prohibition (1913): Maine also restricted marijuana as part of the trend we mentioned earlier that took place in the early part of the 20th century.

Decriminalization (1976): Maine decriminalized possessing cannabis in small amounts following the 1976 legislation, becoming the 3rd state to do so.

Decriminalization (2009): There was further decriminalization that took place On May 1, 2009, by the signing into the legislation of LD 250 by Governor John Baldacci which stipulated possession of cannabis amounts not exceeding 2+1⁄2 ounces (71 g) or less to be a civil infraction.

Municipal legalization (2013–2014): Voters in Portland On November 5, 2013, passed Question 1 with a convincing 67% margin which legalized possessing 2+1⁄2 ounces (71 g) within the city's limits.

South Portland which is a different municipality voted to legalize cannabis by a 6,326 – 5,755 vote in favor in November 2014. The city of Lewiston in that same election voted against the legalization, 7,366 – 6,044.

Legalization (2016): Permission to possess recreational cannabis in approved quantities for personal use was granted. The licensing of commercial cannabis production, as well as retail sales, was put in place. A 10 percent tax was imposed according to the law on commercial marijuana sales. Measures for local authorities to prohibit, regulate or limit the operation of cannabis businesses.  Onsite consumption of marijuana is allowed in establishments that are licensed for carrying out such activity.

After the vote by Maine citizens to legalize the recreational use of cannabis in November of 2016, the sales kicked off in Maine dispensaries starting in October 9, 2020, partly due to a delay occasioned by COVID 19.

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.