(Last update: August 27, 2019)
Medical Marijuana: Yes
Recreational Marijuana: Yes
In-Home Cultivation: -
Adult-use marijuana rules finalized; sales on the horizon
In June 2019, Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed off on rules to govern Maine’s adult-use cannabis industry. They go into effect in September and will bring Maine one step closer to adult-use sales. The adult-use rules adopted can be found here. Applications will hopefully be available by the end of the year.
Maine municipalities must opt into the adult-use marijuana program by locally allowing for marijuana establishments. Towns may opt in by a vote of the town council or at the ballot box by voters.
In early July 2018, the Maine Legislature overrode then-Gov. Paul LePage’s vetoes of LD 238 and LD 1539, bills to improve Maine’s medical marijuana program. LD 238 allows for third-party extraction of medical marijuana. LD 1539 is the culmination of the Health and Human Services Committee’s session-long work reforming the medical marijuana program. The bipartisan omnibus reform bill, which went into effect on December 13, 2018:
- Removed the qualifying condition list so that any Mainer can use medical marijuana so long as their doctor thinks it would be helpful for them;
- Eliminated the requirement that a patient must designate a caregiver or dispensary as their sole provider, allowing for more patient choice; and
- Added two more dispensaries to the existing eight dispensaries and removes the cap on the dispensaries after January 1, 2021.
You can read a summary of the changes here.
In June 2019, Gov. Mills signed off on the rules that would govern Maine’s adult-use marijuana program. You can read the adopted rules here. Adult-use marijuana sales will most likely start in spring 2020.
In April 2018, the Maine Legislature passed LD 1719, which established the regulatory framework for commercial marijuana sales in Maine. Gov. LePage vetoed LD 1719, but his veto was overridden in early May 2018.
The bill made a handful of significant changes from the law voters passed in 2016. LD 1719 removed social club licensing from the law, which means that adults will no longer have a legal place to consume marijuana other than private residences. Additionally, the law lowered the number of flowering plants that adults can grow at home, from six to three.
Current marijuana laws in Maine
- Possession of small amounts and limited home cultivation are legal:Possession of two and a half ounces or less of marijuana is legal for adults 21 and older. Adults may not possess more than five grams of marijuana concentrate. Adults may also cultivate up to three mature marijuana plants at their residence or on another adult’s property with the owner’s permission.
- Retail marijuana stores will hopefully be operational by spring 2020:With commercial marijuana regulations in place, it's up to the state to follow through with implementation. Maine's next governor will most likely take on the task of rule-making and implementation, and retail stores will hopefully be open in 2019.
- Medical marijuana permitted:An individual may now register as a medical marijuana patient if his or her doctor believes medical marijuana will be helpful for their patient. Patients can purchase marijuana from registered marijuana dispensaries, a registered caregiver, or grow their own.
Timeline of marijuana policy reform in Maine
1976: Maine’s legislature decriminalized small amounts of marijuana.
1999: Voters approved a ballot initiative legalizing medical marijuana for patients suffering from serious health issues.
2009: Voters approved a ballot initiative expanding the state's existing medical marijuana program.
2013: Portland voters approved a local initiative legalizing small amounts of marijuana.
2014: South Portland voters approved a local initiative legalizing small amounts of marijuana.
2016: Voters approved a ballot initiative legalizing marijuana for adults and establishing a regulated marijuana market like alcohol.