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Learn About Marijuana In Maine


Frequently Asked Questions About Marijuana in Maine

Maine is one of the northern-most states in the continental U.S., sharing over 600 miles of border with our Canadian neighbors and holding a population of 1.3 million people. Maine is known for its candy-striped lighthouses, fresh lobster, rocky shores, and wide-open spaces. In the years to come, the state will become a force aiding marijuana legalization in the Northeast United States, generating millions of sales and inspiring tourists and lawmakers, alike.

Is Marijuana Legal in Maine?

Maine has done three things to legalize marijuana:

    1. Made marijuana or marijuana-infused products available to individuals who have certain medical conditions.
    2. Made the possession of marijuana under certain amounts a civil - not a criminal - penalty.

 

  • Made the use, sale, possession, and cultivation of marijuana legal for adults 21 or older.

 

When Did Marijuana Become Legal in Maine?

Voters in Maine first legalized the medical use of marijuana in 1999, allowing a qualified medical professional to recommend marijuana to individuals with certain qualifying diseases or conditions. The Act, however, failed to create a way for registered individuals to purchase marijuana and marijuana products.

In 2009, voters would again pass a ballot measure to allow medical marijuana, this time expanding the accepted diseases and conditions as well as increasing the possession limits. Most importantly, this version of the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act created a framework for marijuana dispensaries and businesses to open.

The same year, Maine lawmakers decriminalized marijuana possession for the general public, given the quantity is under 2.5 ounces.

In 2016, the biggest change was brought to Maine, with voters approving a measure that legalized the recreational sale and use of marijuana for adults.

Where Are Dispensaries Located in Maine?

Maine has eight medical dispensaries as of August 2018, each located in a different area of the state.

The law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana does not set a limit on the number of retail dispensaries. Instead, the number of licenses or marijuana businesses operating in a city or county are up to the local government.

Are the Dispensaries Medical or Recreational?

Currently, only medical dispensaries are open for business.

Though it is legal to possess, cultivate, and use marijuana for adults 21+, recreational dispensaries are not expected to be fully operational in Maine until mid-2019.

Who Qualifies to be a Medical Patient in Maine? Who can purchase Recreational?

Once recreational dispensaries begin to open, only those 21 or older may legally purchase marijuana.

Maine allows persons of any age to register with the state medical marijuana registry. In order to register, a person must be diagnosed by a medical professional (an M.D., D.O., or nurse practitioner) as having one of the following conditions or diseases:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Hepatitis C
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Nail-patella syndrome
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Medical marijuana may also be recommended for a disease or medical condition or its treatment that produce any of the following:

  • Chronic or intractable pain which has not responded to traditional treatments or surgery for at least six months
  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Severe nausea
  • Seizures, including typical of epilepsy
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms caused by dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders and other diseases (such as Parkinson’s)

Residents may petition to add conditions and diseases to this list.

How Do I Become a Medical Patient in Maine?

After receiving a certification from a health professional, the patient may access the applications and forms needed to verify the patient’s identity, place of residence, medical condition(s), and criminal history on the Maine Division of Public Health Systems website. There is no fee for patients to apply or renew their registration card.

Where Can I Consume Marijuana in Maine?

The recreational marijuana laws of Maine presently do not allow marijuana social clubs, and recreational consumers will have only private property to consume on legally.

Public consumption carries a fine of no more than $100.

Medical patients may not smoke marijuana on any form of public transportation or in any public place. Additionally, marijuana can never be possessed in or consumed on federal property, in a school bus, on the property of any preschool, primary, or secondary school, in any detention center or correctional facility, or in a way that would constitute negligence or put others at risk.

How Do I Find Employment in the Maine Marijuana Industry?

To get a job at a medical marijuana dispensary in Maine, you must be a resident aged 21 or older. First, you must be issued a registry identification card, renewed annually for $25. Additionally, you must pay an annual $31 fee for a criminal background check. Drug-related criminal offenses will prevent your application from being approved.

Is Drug Testing for Marijuana Legal in Maine?

Maine has several protections in place for medical patients against discrimination in the workplace, but under no circumstance is an employer required to allow a patient to use marijuana while at work. Any patient who is suspected of being intoxicated is not protected from disciplinary action associated with being intoxicated at work, including drug-testing procedures.

It is expected that recreational consumers will also be prohibited from consuming marijuana while at work.

Is Marijuana Delivery Legal?

Maine allows delivery of medical marijuana products directly to medical marijuana patients. Deliveries from dispensaries may be accepted by either the patient or a caregiver.

How to Pay for Marijuana in Maine Dispensaries?

Maine does not require insurance companies to cover medical marijuana and federal law still cites marijuana as a harmful narcotic. The combined result: Marijuana is purchased using cash. ATMs are often available inside dispensaries for your convenience.


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Maine Marijuana Laws

Maine Marijuana Laws

Maine has nearly twenty years of medical marijuana history. Voters in the state first approved the medical use of marijuana in 1999, passing with over 60 percent of the vote. The act provided doctors with a way to certify, based on current scientific evidence, the use of marijuana to alleviate symptoms of various medically-demanding conditions and diseases.

From 2000 until 2009, the medical marijuana program lacked the ability to license dispensaries, so instead patients were to either (a) grow their own or (b) allow a caregiver to grow on their behalf.

In 2009, voters in Maine revamped their medical marijuana laws. Patients had minimal access to medicine, and the formal process did not exist to add diseases to the approved list. The new rules allowed medical dispensaries and production facilities to be licensed, with at least eight dispensaries guaranteed.

That same year, legislators in Maine further decriminalized marijuana possession. By replacing the criminal penalties for possessing up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana with civil fines, the state drastically lowered the number of individuals sentenced to jail time for basic drug possession.

In 2016, Maine took it one step further, joining the ranks of states with full adult-use legalization. Adults 21 and older may now legally purchase, possess, grow, gift, and use marijuana. The law took effect January 30, 2017, yet the licensing of dispensary locations is not expected until mid-2019.

Under both medical and recreational marijuana laws in Maine, growing your own weed is legal. Medical patients, caregivers, and recreational consumers may grow as many as six mature, flowering plants and up to to 12 immature plants or seedlings at any time.

Purchase and Possession Limits

Medical patients can purchase up to five ounces in any 30-day period; however, a dispensary may only sell 2.5 ounces of marijuana to a qualified patient or their caregiver every 15 days.

Recreational consumers can purchase or possess up to 2.5 ounces at any time. Additionally, recreational consumers may purchase as much many as twelve seedlings or immature marijuana plants.

Both patients and recreational consumers may gift or transfer up to 2.5 ounces without payment to another individual aged 21 or older as long as it is not advertised. Any individual caught in possession of more than 2.5 ounces at any time may be fined as much as $1,000 and sentenced to up to six months in jail.

Growing Marijuana at Home

In Maine, both medical and recreational consumers may grow marijuana at home.

Medical patients or their caregiver may cultivate as many as six mature, three flowering at any one time, while possessing up to twelve additional immature (non-flowering) plants.

Marijuana and Driving

Driving While Intoxicated

Maine does not allow any person to operate, navigate, or be in actual physical control of any type of motor vehicle, including aircraft, motorboat, snowmobile, or all-terrain vehicle under the influence of marijuana. This applies equally to both medical and recreational consumers.

For the time being, the state has yet to update their operating laws concerning driving while under the influence of marijuana, despite efforts in 2016 to define a limit of THC which would be acceptable to determine intoxication.

Any person caught driving while intoxicated by marijuana may experience the following legal issues:

  • 90 days suspended driver’s license
  • Up to a $2,000 fine
  • Up to one year in jail and one year probation.

Driving While in Possession of Marijuana

Maine allows patients and caregivers to transport marijuana, given the products never leave the state or country and are not consumed while the patient is driving or the vehicle is moving. Additionally, a registered dispensary may deliver marijuana to a patient or their caregiver.

Similarly, recreational consumers may transport marijuana within state boundaries.

Any person driving beyond the borders of Maine may find themselves with a criminal drug trafficking charge, which can include as many as five years in prison. Any person under the age of 21 who is not a medical patient caught transporting marijuana is subject to having their driver’s license taken away for up to five years.

Marijuana and Minors

Under recreational marijuana laws in Maine, purchases can only be made by adults aged 21 and older. A patient may register for the medical marijuana program on their own when they turn 18. Before that time, a pediatric patient is required to have two physicians (the certifying physician and a consulting physician) perform an examination to determine if medical marijuana could be helpful. Additionally, the parent or legal guardian must sign up as the primary caregiver for the minor in question.

Any person caught selling or distributing marijuana to children is subject to fines of up to $5,000 and as many as five years in prison. If the minor is caught in possession of marijuana, they are subject to civil penalties, not criminal charges, of up to $1,000 depending on the volume of marijuana seized.

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