Maine Cannabis Laws

Is Cannabis Legal In Maine?
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Maine Law: 

StateRecreationalMedical MarijuanaCBD
Maine YesYesYes

Federal Law:

Recreational Medical MarijuanaCBD

Is recreational cannabis legal in Maine?

Yes. Maine has worked progressively to bring recreational cannabis use to the mainstream, starting with its small amount of decriminalization back in 1975. Fast forward to 2016, the ballot initiative Question 1, Marijuana Legalization Act, passed by less than 1%. 

Due to the small margin, opposers asked for a recount and made efforts to rebuke the bill. 

Maine’s Governor LePage even went as far as to veto the bill in 2017, but the state legislature overturned his veto by 2018, making Question 1 a law. Under Maine’s Marijuana Legalization Act, adults can legally grow and possess cannabis and license commercial production and retail sales. 

Yet, like many other legal states, local authorities can regulate and or prohibit recreational use business. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other bureaucratic roadblocks, legal sales were delayed for four years. Residents were finally able to purchase via recreational cannabis at eight licensed dispensaries throughout the state in October of 2020.  Since the market officially opened, that state has seen significant success, selling more than $1.4 million in its first month. 

Is Medical Marijuana legal in Maine?

Yes. 1999, Maine made it legal for qualified patients to use medical marijuana when 62% of the populace voted yes on Question 2, (Maine Medical Marijuana for Specific Illnesses). Maine’s medical marijuana program allows a patient with a doctor’s approval to purchase medical marijuana products from a registered cannabis dispensary, a registered caregiver, or the ability to grow their own.

Are CBD products legal in Maine? 

Yes. Since the passage of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, hemp-derived CBD products are legal under federal law in the United States; as long as they contain at most 0.3% THC. 

Any and all CBD in food and drink is still federally illegal.

What’s Maine’s recreational cannabis sales tax? 

10%. This is the retail cannabis tax for commercial products. 

What’s Maine’s medical marijuana sales tax?

5.5%. Medical marijuana is taxed at the state sales rate. 

Are there any other Maine cannabis tax rates?

Yes. When commercial use starts, Maine will impose the following excise taxes:

Cultivation tax of flower and mature plants in the state: $335 per pound.

Excise Tax on trim sold to other licensees in the state: $94 per pound.

Excise tax on immature marijuana plants and seedlings in the state: $1.50 per each

Excise tax on marijuana seeds in the state: $0.30 per seed

Is cannabis delivery legal in Maine?

Yes. Medical Marijuana deliveries are legal within Maine, and recently lawmakers have pushed to allow for recreational use deliveries during the COVID-19 Pandemic since it has stalled retail openings. 

Delivery services are still subject to local limits based on time, place, and delivery mannermanner of delivery (operating hours and delivery locations).

Maine’s Cannabis Timeline:

1913: Cannabis Prohibition in Maine begins.

1937: The Marihuana (archaic spelling of Marijuana) Tax Act was enacted banning cannabis at the federal level. Medical Marijuana use was still permitted.

1951: The Boggs Act, Sponsored by Hale Boggs and signed into law under President Harry S. Truman, This act set mandatory sentencing and increased punishment for cannabis possession. 

1969: The Marihuana Tax Act is deemed unconstitutional in the landmark Leary v. United States. Timothy Leary, a professor, and activist was arrested for the possession of marijuana in violation of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. Leary then challenged the act on the ground that the act required self-incrimination, which violated his Fifth Amendment rights. (The self-incrimination clause provides various protections against self-incrimination, including the right of an individual to not serve as a witness in a criminal case in which they are the defendant, better known as “Pleading the Fifth”.) The unanimous opinion of the court was penned by Justice John Marshall Harlan II and declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional. Therefore, Leary’s conviction was overturned.

1970: The Controlled Substances Act is enacted (replacing the unconstitutional Marihuana Tax Act). Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, thereby prohibiting its use for any purpose. This act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon. 

This legislation created five classifications, with specific qualifications for a substance to be included in each. The substances scheduling (classification) are determined by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Yet, Congress does have the power to schedule or de-schedule substances through legislation. Substance scheduling decisions are based on its potential for abuse, accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and international treaties.

Classification of Controlled Substances:

Schedule I: High potential of abuse, not acceptable for medical use

Schedule II: High potential of abuse, sometimes allowed with “severe restrictions” for medical use

Schedule II: Medium potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

Schedule IV: Moderate potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

Schedule V: Lowest potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

1975: Cannabis is decriminalized in Maine. Small amounts of cannabis are deemed legal, making Maine the third state to do so. 

1984-1986: Mandatory Sentencing and the three-strikes law were created under the Reagan Administration. This accounts for some of the harshest drug laws created including mandatory 25-year imprisonment for certain drug offenses and the promotion of the death penalty to be used against “drug kingpins”.

1998: House Joint Resolution 117, encouraged by the passing of California’s Prop 215, the House of Representatives passed this measure to support the existing Federal legal process for determining the safety and efficacy of certain drugs.  

1999: Maine legalizes Medical Marijuana, Maine’s medical marijuana program allows for a patient with a doctor’s approval to purchase medical marijuana products from a registered cannabis dispensary, a registered caregiver, or the ability to grow their own.

2009: Maine further decriminalizes cannabis

2014: The Rohrabacher–Farr Amendment passed in the U.S. House and signed into law prohibiting the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.

2016: Maine Question 1, Marijuana Legalization Act, The law imposes a 10 percent tax on commercial marijuana sales. Under the law, localities can regulate, limit, or prohibit marijuana businesses’ operations. Onsite consumption is permitted under the law in establishments licensed for such activity.

2017: Gov. LePage Vetoes Maine Question 1

2018: Gov. LePage’s Veto is overturned, finally legalizing recreational use in Maine. 

2018: Farm bill legalizes low-THC hemp nationwide and effectively de-schedules hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act.

October 2020: Maine’s recreational market opens.

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