Along with California, Nevada, and Massachusetts, Maine has become a leader in the recreational cannabis industry as of election day, 2016. Below is an overview of the 2016 ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine.
At a Glance
- The initiative allows adults 21 years of age and older to possess a limited amount of marijuana, grow a limited number of marijuana plants in their homes, and possess the marijuana produced by those plants. It will remain illegal to use marijuana in public.
- The initiative establishes a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, product-manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities, and it creates rules governing the production, testing, transportation, and sale of marijuana and marijuana-related products (e.g. testing, labeling, and packaging requirements). Cities and towns will have the right to prohibit the operation of marijuana establishments.
- The initiative enacts a 10% tax on adult-use marijuana sales, which will be used to implement and enforce regulations. Any remaining funds will be used by the legislature to benefit the citizens of Maine. Medical marijuana sales will NOT be subjected to the 10% sales tax.
Maine’s Marijuana Laws
A medical marijuana patient in Maine can currently consume, possess, and cultivate cannabis in the home if that patient has Alzheimer’s, ALS, cachexia, cancer, chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, glaucoma, hep C, Huntington’s disease, IBS, MS, nausea, Nail-patella syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, or PTSD. Patients can possess up to two-and-a-half ounces of cannabis, and up to six mature plants at one time. The state can have a maximum of eight state-license dispensaries, and up to two caregivers free of drug offense convictions can cultivate cannabis for a qualified patient. The state has 1,723 registered patients, according to the Maine Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services.
Maine’s Marijuana Legalization Initiative would allow adults of age 21 years or older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis. A 10% sales tax would be applied to all sales, and the first $30 million in revenue from rec sales would go to school construction, and then the General Fund. The Department of Administrative and Financial Services’ Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations would control licensing and regulation of marijuana dispensaries and cultivators. Cities and towns could ban dispensaries and commercial cultivation, and smoking in public could result in a $100 fine. The new initiative also allows industrial hemp growing in Maine.
Although the measure squeaked by in Maine, opponents of the measure are fighting to request a recount of based on “potential harm to Maine children and the state’s medical marijuana program.” The laws passed by a fraction of a percentage in a year when the presidential election was just as close, but home cultivation may be legal by Christmas of 2016.