Recreational Marijuana Is Now Legal In Maine

By McCarton Ackerman 01/31/17

The recount results are in—Maine has officially joined the small group of US states who have legalized recreational pot.

canisters of marijuana

Maine has become the latest U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana for adults, in a trend that's showing no signs of slowing down.

The Portland Press Herald reported that as of Monday (Jan. 30), Maine now joins seven other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing pot for anyone aged 21 and over. The measure was barely approved on the ballot last November. After a recount effort by opponents of legalization—which involved two weeks of hand-counting votes—the measure ultimately remained.

Mainers may now possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, the rough equivalent of 150 marijuana cigarettes, according to the PPH. State residents can also grow up to six mature plants, 12 immature plants and possess an unlimited amount of seedlings—but they may not be visible to others or accessible to anyone under 21 years old. Each plant is also required to be tagged with the person’s name and their Maine ID or driver’s license number.

In a bid to boost marijuana tourism, Mainers will have the option to establish marijuana social clubs where individuals—including tourists—can partake in a social setting. However, these locations won’t be available until February 2018 at the earliest; lawmakers set a moratorium on retail sales while a regulatory and licensing framework is set up.

Even though weed is now legal in the Pine Tree State, there are still several restrictions on it. It’s still not legal to sell without a proper license or consume it in public (outside of a marijuana social club). Anyone who is caught doing so could receive a $100 fine. Driving while high is also prohibited, and those who use marijuana won't be allowed to purchase firearms because it is still illegal at the federal level.

Maine Governor Paul LePage has been vocal about his disapproval of marijuana legalization, and has exhibited a highly backwards stance on other drug-related issues. In January 2016, he made racist comments about how heroin makes its way into Maine, blaming minorities for both drug trafficking and creating children out of wedlock.

"These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty, these types of guys, they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home," said LePage in January 2016. "Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.