Maine’s ballot initiative measure to legalize marijuana for adults and establish a regulated marijuana market passed with 50.26 percent of the vote on November 8, 2016.
After myriad delays and disappointments, shops finally opened for legal marijuana sales to adults 21 and over on October 9, 2020. It remains illegal to consume marijuana in public spaces.
“Nearly four years after Mainers approved marijuana legalization at the ballot box, the will of the people will finally be effectuated,” said Marijuana Policy Project Deputy Director Matthew Schweich, a leader of the 2016 campaign.
Allows 2.5 ounces per adult
Maine allows 2.5 ounces per adult,
more cannabis than most other states.
Adults 21 years of age or older with a valid ID will be able to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of a combination of marijuana and concentrate that includes no more than five grams of marijuana concentrate. Maine municipalities must opt in to the adult-use program by allowing for local marijuana establishments. More details on Maine’s adult-use marijuana regulation law can be found here.
Maine’s ballot initiative measure to legalize marijuana for adults and establish a regulated marijuana market passed with 50.26 percent of the vote on November 8, 2016, along with three other states — California, Massachusetts, and Nevada. After a series of delays, Maine is the last of those states to launch adult-use retail sales.
“The delays were unfortunate and unnecessary, but in the end we’ve succeeded in replacing prohibition with a thoughtful policy that legalizes, regulates, and taxes marijuana sales for adults 21 and over,” said Schweich.
Marijuana has been legal for adults 21 and older to grow and share since January 30, 2017. Legislation to establish rules and implement a regulated adult-use marijuana market was signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills on June 27, 2019.
Eleven states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana for adults aged 21 and over. Beginning on Friday, 10 of those states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington — have launched marijuana sales for adults.
In the 11th state, Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott allowed a bill to become law without his signature to add regulated sales to an existing law that legalized personal possession and cultivation.
“Maine was a tough campaign,” said Schweich. “We overcame a difficult signature drive. Then we had to fight in court to ensure qualification for the ballot. It was a real team effort that culminated in a well-earned victory on Election Day.”
The Marijuana Policy Project spearheaded the successful Yes on 1 legalization campaign in Maine and played a central role in the coalitions that passed initiatives to legalize and regulate marijuana in Colorado, Alaska, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Nevada. Currently, MPP staff are playing an important role in the 2020 legalization ballot initiatives in Montana and South Dakota.
The Marijuana Policy Project is the nation’s largest cannabis policy organization. It has been a leading advocate for federal cannabis policy reform since its founding in 1995, and it has played a leading role in most major state-level reforms that have occurred over the past two decades. For more information, visit www.mpp.org.
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