2016 Maine ballot initiative
Last update: June 17, 2015
Earlier this month, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol submitted its initiative to the Maine Secretary of State to end marijuana prohibition. Maine has the opportunity to become the first state on the East Coast to legalize marijuana for adults. In order to qualify for the 2016 ballot, the campaign must now collect over 61,000 signatures from Maine voters. The initiative would establish a reasonable, tax-and-regulate system for retail sales of marijuana to adults in Maine. Visit the campaign website to read a summary of the initiative. You can find the full version here.
Medical marijuana in Maine
Maine voters passed the state’s medical marijuana law, Ballot Question 2, into law on November 2, 1999 with 61% of the vote. The law was improved by a ballot initiative in 2009 (Question 5) to allow dispensaries and add additional qualifying conditions. All eight dispensaries are currently up and running and no major problems have been reported.
In 2011, the Maine Legislature passed legislation making patient registration optional in order to preserve patient privacy and tweaking several other portions of the law. You can read a summary of those changes here.
Marijuana laws in Maine (non-medical)
Did you know that Maine is a “decrim” state? In 2009, the Maine Legislature passed a measure that expanded the state’s decades-old decrim law by making possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana a civil penalty, punishable by only a civil fine. For possession of up to 1.25 ounces, the fine is $350-$600. If the amount is between 1.25 ounces to 2.5 ounces, the fine is $700-$1000. Possession of more than 2.5 ounces can lead to a definite jail term of up to six months.
Of course, while removing the potential for jail time is a good first step, only taxing and regulating marijuana will solve the supply problem and completely remove marijuana from the criminal market. Please ask your legislators to support efforts to regulate marijuana like alcohol.
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