Is marijuana legal in Maine?
Current legality status
Cannabis in Maine is classified as a legal, recreational-use substance for adult consumption.
Both medical and recreational marijuana are legal in Maine, although dispensaries have yet to open for recreational sales almost four years after residents voted to legalize it. The first dispensaries are scheduled to finally open on October 9, 2020.
Maine recreational marijuana laws
In 2016, voters approved a measure legalizing adult-use marijuana. Under the new law, a person 21 or older may possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or 2.5 ounces of cannabis-infused products with no more than 5 grams of marijuana concentrate, plus a maximum of three mature plants (flowering), twelve immature plants, and unlimited seedlings.
Maine recreational marijuana bills
After voters gave a thumbs-up to Question 1 in 2016, the legislature passed “An Act to Legalize Marijuana,” statute IB 2015, c. 5. The bill permits the recreational use, retail sale of, and taxation of marijuana. As with alcohol sales, the law permitted municipalities to vote on whether to be a “dry town.”
The state has been working in fits and starts ever since to get dispensaries licensed so they can open. That will finally happen on October 9, 2020.
Maine medical marijuana laws
Maine has permitted doctors to prescribe medical marijuana—and patients to possess limited amounts—since 1999, but the state initially had no distribution program. In 2009, Maine residents voted yes on Question 5, which established a dispensary model.
A qualifying patient or adult over the age of 21 may possess up to 2.5 ounces of prepared marijuana, 2.5 ounces of cannabis concentrate, and 2.5 ounces of cannabis-infused edibles products. A maximum of six (6) mature plants, twelve (12) immature plants, and unlimited seedlings per resident may be cultivated for personal use.
Municipalities have the authority to expand the 12-plant-per-household limit up to 18 plants for personal adult use. Minors, incapacitated adults, homeless qualifying patients, and registered patients in hospice or nursing facilities may not cultivate his or her own marijuana. Only designated primary caregivers or designated dispensaries may cultivate on behalf of a qualifying patient in this case.
Maine medical marijuana bills
In 2009, voters passed ”An act to establish the Maine Medical Marijuana Act” (LD 975, IB 2), initiated by citizens. The bill created a framework for the opening of medical dispensaries. In July 2018, the legislature passed LD 1539, which amended the law to eliminate the list of qualifying conditions for medical patients. Licensed physicians now have the sole discretion to decide who qualifies for a medical card.
Maine qualifying conditions for medical marijuana
A medical provider in good standing with the appropriate licensing board may provide the state with a written certification that a qualifying patient is likely to receive therapeutic benefit from the medical use of marijuana to treat or alleviate the patient’s debilitating medical condition.
How to get a medical marijuana card in Maine
A patient must be a Maine resident and be approved for a medical marijuana card by a certified physician, nurse, or medical assistant. The medical professional will furnish the medical marijuana card directly. Patients must have the card with them when they are in possession of cannabis.
Medical providers can decide how much to charge for the medical card, and may give it to patients at no cost. The state does not provide a list of approved physicians, nurses, or medical assistants because of confidentiality rules.
Does Maine accept out-of-state medical cards?
Yes. Dispensaries accept medical marijuana credentials from other states, if those states allow them to use their credential to purchase medical marijuana in Maine. Those states include:
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, and Washington, DC.
When does my Maine medical card expire?
Medical cards in Maine expire after one year. Patients must return to their medical professional, or visit a medical professional licensed by the state to issue medical marijuana cards, to get their credential renewed.
Maine marijuana growing laws
Residents age 21 or older are permitted three mature (flowering) and twelve immature plants, plus unlimited seedlings. Rules are as follows:
- Plants must not be visible from a public way without the use of binoculars.
- Home growers must take reasonable precautions to prevent anyone under the age 21 from accessing the plants.
- Plants grown for personal use must be tagged with a legible label that includes your name, driver’s license or state identification number, and a notation that the plant(s) are being grown as authorized by law.
- If you are growing on someone else’s land, you need the owner’s written permission to grow and care for the plants and include the landowner’s name on each plant’s label.
- Minors, incapacitated adults, homeless qualifying patients, and registered patients in hospice or nursing facilities may not cultivate their own marijuana. Only designated primary caregivers or designated dispensaries may cultivate on behalf of a qualifying patient in this case.
Maine public consumption laws
Use of marijuana in any form (smoking, eating, or vaping) is prohibited in public places, including amusement parks, ski resorts, sporting and music venues, state and national parks, campsites, playgrounds, sidewalks and roads, marijuana retail businesses, bars, restaurants, and outdoor or rooftop cafes.
Smoking is not prohibited in motel or hotel rooms that have been rented to the public.
It’s also illegal to possess marijuana on any federal property, because it’s still an illegal drug under federal law.
It’s legal to use within private property—but property owners, landlords, and rental companies may prohibit the use and possession of cannabis on their premises. It’s also forbidden in a private residence or private property used as a daycare or babysitting service during the hours in which the residence or private property is being operated for that purpose.
Maine cannabis DUI laws
It is against the law to use marijuana in a vehicle—and that rule applies to the driver and any passengers. It is also illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. You could be charged with DUI.
If you are stopped, law enforcement is required to inform the driver of the consequences of refusing to submit to a test, and in the event of a refusal, one’s license will be suspended for between 275 days and six years. Refusal of a test may also be considered an aggravating factor at sentencing.
If you are charged and convicted, penalties include:
- 1st offense: 48 hours in jail, $500 fine, 150 day suspended driver’s license. If the driver refused to submit to a test, they must spend 96 hours in jail, pay a $600 fine, and submit to 275-day suspended driver’s license.
- 2nd offense (within 10 years): Seven days up to 12 days in jail, $700 up to $900 fine, court-ordered driver’s license suspension, and suspension of the right to register a motor vehicle
- 3rd offense (within 10 years): 30 days up to 40 days in jail, $1,100 to $1,400 fine, court-ordered driver’s license suspension for six years, and suspension of the right to register a motor vehicle. Penalties increase with subsequent offenses.
It’s also illegal to drive across the Maine border with any marijuana products.
Maine cannabis testing regulations
There is no mandatory testing for products sold in Maine’s medical marijuana program. In September 2019, lawmakers drafted and passed emergency legislation setting specific but self-policed standards and testing protocols for medical marijuana, which include limits on heavy metals.
Products sold through the forthcoming adult-use program will be subject to mandatory testing for the following:
- Filth and foreign materials
- Dangerous molds and mildews
- Harmful microbes
- THC potency, homogeneity and cannabinoid profiles
- Water activity and moisture content
Common questions about marijuana legalization in Maine
Does your medical information remain confidential?
Yes. Your medical professional registers you with the state, the Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP) sees only a number initiated in its database, keeping the patient’s privacy intact.
Does Maine track and trace (seed-to-sale) marijuana products?
The state requires the tracking and tracing of marijuana and marijuana products in both its adult-use and medical programs. The OMP is preparing to deploy a software solution with Metrc to allow licensees and registrants to enter their information.
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Post last updated Sept. 7, 2020