Maine has had medical marijuana laws on its books since 1999, making it one of the earliest states in the United States to have a medical marijuana program. As for legal recreational cannabis, it was approved of with the passing of the Marijuana Legalization Act in 2016, put forth by Maine’s Question 1.
The Marijuana Legalization Act was supposed to take effect within 40 days of November 8, 2016, permitting adults who are not participating in the state’s medical cannabis program to legally grow and to possess personal use quantities of cannabis while also licensing commercial cannabis production and retail sales. Retail sales were set to begin in February 2018. However, a mixture of politics and the advent of COVID-19 meant that retail sales were help up.
Here’s some FAQs about Maine’s new recreational laws …
When Will Legal Recreational Marijuana Sales in Maine Be Allowed?
Maine will start granting licenses to recreational cannabis businesses on September 8, and allow retail sales of recreational marijuana to adults age 21 and older as of October 9.
I Thought Recreational Marijuana Was Already Legal in Maine?
Recreational marijuana was legalized in 2016, but there was nowhere in Maine to legally buy it. If you wanted to visit a dispensary in Maine and buy cannabis, you would need a medical marijuana card. You could, however, grow your own cannabis plants – up to three mature plants, 12 immature plants and unlimited seedlings for residents 21 years of age or older.
Prior to state-wide legalization, some of Maine’s municipalities legalized recreational cannabis on a local level. On November 5, 2013, voters in Portland passed Question 1 by 67% which legalized the possession of 2.5 ounces within the city’s limits. South Portland voted to legalize marijuana in November 2014. Lewiston voted down legalization in 2014.
When Were Medical Marijuana Laws Passed in Maine?
Maine legalized medical marijuana when 62% of the populace voted yes on Question 2 on November 2, 1999.
Cannabis Decriminalization in Maine
Cannabis was made illegal in Maine in 1913, as part of a larger trend of cannabis prohibition throughout the US. Massachusetts was the first to ban non-prescription cannabis in 1911.
Maine decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis in 1976, becoming the third US state to do so. There was a further round of decrimnalization in 2009, when Governor John Baldacci signed Legislative Document 250 (LD 250), which made possession of 2.5 ounces or less a civil infraction.
Is There Any Point in Having a Maine Medical Marijuana Card Now That Recreational Cannabis is Legal in ME?
Yes, there are still various benefits to having a medical marijuana certificate card in Maine, even if it is available legally recreationally. These benefits include:
- Money saved on taxes. There is a 10% marijuana State Retail Excise tax imposed retail sales of marijuana in Maine. Medical cannabis is subject to state sales tax of 5.5%. Sales of food prepared by the retailer, including “edible marijuana products” are subject to sales tax at a separate “prepared food rate” (currently 8%). Maine seems to seek tax levels that would discourage black market retail sales.
- Access to a greater number of dispensaries. Not all areas and municipalities will be welcoming to recreational cannabis. At the moment, there are around about 8 stores in Maine that can legally sell recreational cannabis as of October 9. This may change, and other stores may get licenses to sell recreational cannabis after this date.
- Some states have medical marijuana reciprocity, meaning that a Maine medical marijuana card could serve you well in another state, such as Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Hawaii. However, due to COVID-19, many states have put a moratorium on medical cannabis reciprocity.
Where Can I Get Recreational Cannabis in Maine?
You may get both medical and recreational cannabis in the following stores and towns in Maine.
Firestorm Cultivation – 1172 Hammond Street, Suite A 04401
Coastal Cannabis Co. – 53A Chapman Street 04543
Jamy Enterprises – TBD – no given location as of yet
Sweet Relief – 1 Priest Road 04849
South Portland, ME
SeaWeed – 185 Running Hill Road 04106
Theory Wellness – 198 Maine Mall Road, Suite 100 04106
Northland Botanicals – 152 Main Street 04982
Theory Wellness – 20 Industrial Street 04901
If you want access to a greater number of dispensaries (and less tax to pay), then get a medical marijuana card with Leafwell today!
Featured image: Portland Maine Lighthouse at Cape Elizabeth During Sunrise.