Ahhh progressive New England. Only 50% of the 6 states have legal recreational marijuana at present, and Maine is one of them. Both recreational and medical marijuana are legal in Maine. But you don’t often hear about weed in Maine, and there’s a good reason why.
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Maine’s Place In New England
Maine’s land size is almost as large as the other 5 states of New England combined. Sitting at 35,380 square miles (91,633 sq km), it’s just shy of the 36,607 square miles (94,812 sq km) that make up Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Although New England is often thought of as one of the most progressive US areas, it’s worth noting that only 3 of the 6 states that make up the area have legal recreational marijuana. Did Maine legalize first, setting the standard for the region?
Did Maine Legalize Marijuana First In New England?
By first, we mean out of New England only. Colorado and Washington legalized recreational weed first, back in 2012. Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire are yet to pass any legislation relating to recreational marijuana. In 2018, Vermont’s new laws around recreational use came into effect.
Two years before that, both Massachusetts and Maine passed legislation permitting recreational marijuana in their states. These ballots both occurred on November 8, 2016, at the same time as the 2016 federal election. Technically though, you could legally possess marijuana in Massachusetts first. The bay state signed it into law one month before Maine did, which occurred January 30, 2017.
Although legal, the Maine Marijuana Legalization Measure of 2016 only passed by a very slim margin. With the official numbers at 381,768 votes for, and 377,773 votes against, this ballot could have easily failed like in many states around the country. It was so close that opponents of the measure requested an official recount.
Current Marijuana Laws In Maine
Although the vote passed by a very small margin, residents of Maine can legally carry far more marijuana on them then most of the country. According to NORML, any amount up to 2.5 oz will not carry any penalty or fine. Anything above this though and you could be looking at a minimum of 6 months incarceration.
Most other states with legal recreational cannabis allow a maximum possession limit of 1 oz. The only other state currently to allow 2.5 oz is Michigan. Even the states most known for their cannabis culture (California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon) have a possession limit of 1 oz.
Selling marijuana in Maine still remains illegal, where you could be jailed for a year if selling up to a pound. You can legally grow up to 3 plants without any penalties though. Currently growing marijuana is the only way to legally acquire it, as retail sales are yet to come into effect.
Is Weed Legal In Wyoming?
That’s about to change over the coming months though, as recreational sales are expected to begin on March 15, 2020. After more than three years of waiting, residents of Maine will finally be able to visit their local dispensaries and purchase marijuana without a medical card.