- Possession of up to 2.5 ounces.
- Up to 6 plants (three mature).
- Registration required.
- Restricted medical conditions.
- Dispensaries approved.
< 2.5 ounces: Civil Violation – Fine only
2.5 oz to 1 lb: Misdemeanor – up to 1 year
> 1 lb: Felony: 5 to 10 years
< 1lb:Misdemeanor – 1 year
> 1lb: Felony – 5 to 10 pounds
< 100 plants: Misdemeanor – Up to 5 years.
> 100 plants: Felony – Up to 10 years
Ballot Question 2 legalized medical marijuana in Maine in 1999. The law permits patients to possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and the cultivation of up to six plants. The 2.5-ounce limit was set as part of Senate Bill 611, an amendment signed into law in April 2002. The law also permits authorities to accept other state’s ID cards as proof of patient status.
The law does not establish a state-run registry, but rather removes state-level criminal penalties for use, possession and cultivation done in accordance with the law, provided patients possess an oral or written physician’s opinion that they might benefit from the use of medical marijuana. Approved conditions include epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and nausea or vomiting as a result of medical treatment, including chemotherapy.
Advocacy groups, including the ACLU of Maine and Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, continue to push to open the law up for treatment of mental-health and psychological conditions, including posttraumatic stress syndrome.
Maine became the fifth state to sanction marijuana use for medical reasons. The program is regulated by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
Additional approved conditions were added via Question 5, an amendment that passed with 59 percent of the vote in 2009. Added afflictions include muscle spasms, hepatitis C, ALS, Alzheimer’s and Crohn’s disease. The 2009 amendment also directed the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a registry identification program for patients and caregivers.
In 2013, Maine passed a measure permitting up to 35 marijuana dispensaries. At the start of the year, eight legal dispensaries were operating in the state. The new law also prohibits towns from banning medical marijuana dispensaries, something our Los Angeles marijuana attorneys continue to fight in Southern California.
However, advocacy groups contended the program was in shambles following dismissal of the state’s director. Patients could not comply with legal changes that went into effect to start 2013, because the state had not posted them. The department reported receiving 150 calls a day, which were being handled by just two staff members.
Maine decriminalized possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in 2009; such possession is now punishable by a maximum $1,000 fine. In 2013, a number of lawmakers promised to follow Colorado and Washington in seeking to legalize marijuana for recreational use.Maine Medical Marijuana News Archives
Medical Marijuana: How Maine is facing the challenge implementing the law, Portland Press Herald, ongoing coverage.
Maine Medical Marijuana Dispensary Says It’s Getting ‘Fine Medicine’ To Patients In Pain, WBUR-Boston NPR News, Feb. 6, 2013.
Legislator, ACLU: Maine's medical marijuana law falls short, the Forecaster, Dec. 11, 2012.