Maine's Marijuana Initiative: What it Will and Won't Allow

Sep 20, 2016

Question 1 asks, “Do you want to allow the possession and use of marijuana under state law by persons who are at least 21 years of age, and allow the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?”

Think the question is long? Check out the actual legislation. It’s 44 pages.

But the following are some highlights that voters may want to consider when they go the polls Nov. 8:

·    Unlike states like Colorado, where voters both decriminalized marijuana possession and legalized its sale and use for adults, Question 1 focuses mostly on the sale and use of marijuana. It essentially creates the regulatory framework for a legal cannabis market. Part of this is because Maine effectively decriminalized marijuana possession when a law was passed in 2009 that made possession of 2.5 ounces or less a civil infraction.

·    Question 1 strips away the civil infraction for possession up to 2.5 ounces for adults 21 years old and older.

·    It allows those same adults to purchase pot from licensed retailers. The state will be the licensing authority, although municipalities can impose additional license requirements.

·    Municipalities can also prohibit marijuana retail and grow facilities.  

·    Adults can consume marijuana in private or licensed social clubs, but not in public. This provision is more permissive than Colorado, which doesn’t allow for pot social clubs (at least not yet.).

·    Adults can grow up to six mature plants, 12 immature plants and an unlimited number of seedlings.

·    In addition to becoming the licensing authority, the state, or more specifically the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (Ag-Con) will be allowed to limit the concentration of THC in retail pot products. THC is the psychoactive component in marijuana.

·    Ag-Con will establish an independent testing program for cannabis products. Testing is designed to ensure the purity and safety of retail products.

·    Retail pot stores cannot sell non-marijuana products, such as alcohol. This same restriction applies to marijuana social clubs.

·    Question 1 imposes a 10 percent sales tax on marijuana and marijuana-related products.

·    The finer details of the legislation will be developed through a state rulemaking process.

To read the rest of the series "High Stakes: How Legalizing Pot Could Affect Maine," click here.