With the legal landscape for marijuana constantly changing, it’s hard to keep up with what’s legal and what’s not. We’ll break it down for you.
State vs. Federal Law
First things first, cannabis legality falls to the states themselves to make a decision. At the federal level, marijuana is illegal.
That means it is unlawful to buy or sell marijuana of any kind on federal land or within a state that has not passed any laws expressly permitting any form of use.
Maine State Law
Here in Maine, there have been a number of steps made and laws passed to legalize the use of marijuana.
In 2016, Maine voters made it clear that they want cannabis legalized for retail sale and recreational use. However, lawmakers are still getting logistics in order to put this into action. So while some forms of buying and selling marijuana have been legalized, recreational use is still not legal in the state of Maine.
Maine Medical Marijuana Use
In Maine, cannabis use is legal for those with a medical marijunana card. These patients are then able to purchase product from medical cannabis dispensaries.
It is illegal for medical marijuana users to possess more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana or more than 5 grams of concentrate. Users cannot be under the age of 21 unless they have a medical cannabis card.
Many laws involving operating a vehicle are similar to alcohol laws. For example, it is unlawful to operate a vehicle under the influence of marijuana (doing so could result in being charged with an OUI). It is also illegal to open and use cannabis in a vehicle.
Similarly, marijuana cannot be used publicly or in plain sight. It is only legal for medical users to consume cannabis on private property.
Additional laws apply for personal cannabis growing.
The Future of Retail Sale & Recreational Use in Maine
Again, laws regarding cannabis are constantly changing, making it challenging to stay up-to-date with the latest legal action.
At this time, here’s what the future of retail sale and recreational use of marijuana look like in our state:
- The delay in legislation has largely been due to lawmakers agreeing on regulations and restrictions for dispensaries and sale of cannabis.
- In June 2019, Governor Janet Mills signed a bill that puts regulations in place starting in September 2019 that will put Maine on track for recreational cannabis sales in March 2020.
- Individual Maine municipalities will still have to opt in to allow recreational marjiuana sales. (Currently only about 15 of 455 towns and cities have opted in.)
Content updated in August 2019