Maine: Voter-Initiated Changes In Law Eliminate Marijuana Possession Penalties

MAINE:  Maine became the eighth state to eliminate criminal penalties specific to the adult possession and personal use of cannabis.

Language in Question 1: The Marijuana Legalization Act, specific to the private possession and cultivation of marijuana by adults, took effect on Monday. Maine voters narrowly passed Question 1 on Election Day.

The new law permits adults who are not participating in the state’s existing medical cannabis program to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and/or the harvest from up to six mature plants.

Public use of marijuana is a civil infraction punishable by a $100 fine.

In response to voters’ approval of Question 1, Maine lawmakers passed separate legislation last week, LD 88, also permitting adults to possess up to five grams of marijuana concentrates. However, other provisions in the measure delay the implementation of retail marijuana sales until at least February 1, 2018. It also prohibits the possession of “edible retail marijuana products” until this date.

Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have previously adopted voter-initiated laws legalizing the private consumption and/or sale of cannabis by adults. The District of Columbia also permits adults to legally possess and grow personal use quantities of marijuana in private residences.

Maine Groups Team Up On Ballot Measure To Make Marijuana Legal

MAINE: Two groups that had backed competing ballot initiatives to make recreational use of marijuana legal in Maine agreed on Monday to join forces on one measure to put before voters in 2016.

The state is one of six where competing pro-marijuana groups hope to hold referendums on marijuana legalization in 2016, following 2012 votes that legalized the drug in Colorado and Oregon. Attitudes about marijuana in the United States have changed markedly since then, as voters in Washington, Alaska and the District of Columbia have followed suit. Voters in Ohio will weigh in on legalization next month.

In Maine, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said that it would put its organization behind a ballot initiative submitted by Legalize Maine.

Legalize Maine had already collected about 40,000 signatures of voters who support the initiative and would need a total of 61,000 by January to place the measure on a statewide ballot.