With the legal landscape for cannabis 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, cannabis is illegal.
That means it is unlawful to buy or sell cannabis of any kind on federal land or within a state that has not passed 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 cannabis.
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 cannabis have been legalized, recreational use is still being developed and regulated.
Maine Medical Cannabis Use
In Maine, cannabis use is legal for those with a medical card. These patients are able to purchase product from legally registered medical cannabis dispensaries.
It is illegal for medical users to purchase or possess more than 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower or other cannabis products. 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 cannabis (doing so could result in being charged with an OUI). It is also illegal to open and use cannabis in a vehicle.
Similarly, cannabis 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 cannabis will 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.
- Maine launched adult-use sales in October 2020.
- Individual Maine municipalities will still have to opt in to allow recreational cannabis sales. (Currently, only 52 towns, cities and plantations among approximately 500 municipalities in the state have a retail footprint, according to OCP.)
Content updated December 2022. Not a substitute for legal advice.