Maine is now one of 18 states in the United States that have legalized medical marijuana, as well as one of 37 states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use. Maine’s legislature was among the first to accept and legalize medical marijuana as a treatment option for patients certified by licensed healthcare professionals.
It was the fifth state to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries for patients suffering from severe medical conditions. According to the Office of Cannabis Policy’s 2021 annual report, Maine has grown from an eight-dispensary patient-centric system—one in each public health district—to 13 dispensaries since establishing its Medical Use of Marijuana Program. OCP noted in the same report that the number of printed certifications has increased nearly 10% to 105,143 in 2021.
Because marijuana is legal in Maine for both medical and recreational purposes, understanding the differences between the laws of each program is critical to determining which is best for you.
Maine’s medical marijuana history began in November 1999, when voters approved Question 2, allowing patients with certain medical conditions to cultivate and use limited amounts of cannabis for treatment as prescribed by a physician.
In November 2009, voters approved Question 5, which established the Maine Medical Marijuana Act—a measure that established nonprofit dispensaries to provide medical marijuana to patients. The bill also established a statewide identification card system to keep patients from being arrested for possession or use of marijuana.
Recreational marijuana became legal in November 2016, when voters approved Question 1, the Marijuana Legalization Act. The law allowed adults over the age of 21 in Maine to grow, own, and use marijuana. Question 1 was later amended to delay retail marijuana product sales and to make edible marijuana products illegal.
Maine adults (21 years of age and older) are now permitted to use, possess, and transport up to 2.5 ounces of a combination of cannabis (flower), concentrate, and products, with no more than 5 grams of concentrate. Adults are also permitted to use, possess, and transport marijuana paraphernalia.
Adults in Maine can cultivate no more than three flowering cannabis plants, twelve immature plants, and an unlimited number of seedlings at their residence or on another adult’s property with the owner’s permission under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program. Finally, adult-use laws allow an adult to possess, cultivate, or transport up to three mature marijuana plants, twelve immature marijuana plants, and an unlimited number of seedlings at any one time, as well as all marijuana produced by such plants, at the person’s residence or the location where the marijuana was cultivated.
Qualifying medical marijuana patients and their caregivers are permitted to possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana or the equivalent amount of a combination of flower, concentrate, and products, with no more than 5 grams of concentrate. In addition, medical marijuana patients are permitted to possess up to 8 pounds of harvested marijuana, 6 flowering plants, 12 immature plants, an unlimited number of seedlings, and marijuana paraphernalia.
Marijuana, whether for medical or recreational purposes, must be consumed at the user’s residence or on private property with the explicit permission of the property owner. Those who rent property should be aware that property owners and rental companies have the authority to prohibit the possession and use of marijuana on their property.
Marijuana use in any form—smoking, vaping, or eating—is illegal in public places and on federal property in Maine. Violations of this law are subject to a $100 fine.
In comparison to other states, Maine’s operating under the influence (OUI) laws for marijuana and other illicit drugs are unique. Driving under the influence of marijuana or any other substance that impairs your judgment and ability to operate a motor vehicle is illegal in Maine.
However, there is no set limit for how much THC is too much to drive on. This means that officers can arrest drivers for marijuana impairment even if there is no evidence that the driver was actually impaired.
This can be a problem for drivers who legally use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Even if they have a valid prescription, they could be arrested for OUI if they are stopped by law enforcement.
In comparison to other states, Maine’s process for obtaining certification for medical marijuana use is unique. To begin, unless you are a caregiver, you are not required to register with the Medical Use of Marijuana Program (MMMP).
Maine’s registry identification card application process has been streamlined over time. Maine had a complete list of qualifying medical conditions when MMMP was launched, which included cancer, ALS, and Alzheimer’s disease.
However, in mid-2018, the qualifying condition list was removed, leaving certifying physicians to determine eligibility.
However, if you are having difficulties with your medical use application, the Sanctuary is here to assist you. If you live in Maine, please contact us so that we can help you with your application and medical marijuana certification.
Yes. In November 2016, Maine voters effectively legalized recreational marijuana use by passing Question 1, an amendment to the Marijuana Legalization Act. The bill allows Maine adults over the age of 21 to cultivate, purchase, and consume marijuana and its derivatives.
Medical cannabis can only be purchased by registered patients and their primary caregivers. Furthermore, dispensaries can only provide medical cannabis or recreational cannabis for adult use—not both.
Registered patients and their caregivers are permitted to possess up to eight pounds of harvested marijuana, six flowering plants, twelve immature plants, an unlimited number of seedlings, and marijuana paraphernalia.
A qualifying patient may also provide, or offer to provide, up to 2.5 ounces of harvested marijuana to another qualifying patient for medical use at no cost.
In terms of marijuana cultivation, recent legislation allows a registered caregiver to maintain up to two cultivation areas, the locations of which must be disclosed to the state.
One of the caregiver’s cultivation areas can house up to 60 immature plants (or 1,000 square feet of canopy) and up to 30 mature plants (or 500 square feet of canopy).
A patient is only permitted to possess a certain amount of product. The total amount cannot exceed 2.5 ounces of flower, concentrate, and products, with no more than 5 grams of concentrate.
Yes, in some states. As of June 6, 2019, medical cannabis patients visiting Maine who want to buy medical marijuana only need their state-issued registry ID card, certificate, or other state-issued documentation of their status as a medical cannabis patient in their resident state.
Patients from the following states are permitted to purchase medical cannabis in Maine: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, DC.
The OCP website contains guidelines for visiting patients.
Before applying for a Maine medical marijuana card, a person cannot have had any drug-related felony convictions on their record for ten years.