Marijuana was made illegal in the state of Maine back in 1913. Over ten years earlier than many other states banned cannabis in 1927. Massachusetts was the only state to make cannabis illegal earlier, in 1911.
But by 1976, Maine had decriminalized cannabis. That still didn’t make marijuana legal in the state. However, it did mean that possession for personal use (small amounts) and first-time offenses would not result in a lifelong criminal charge. And Maine was the third state in America to decriminalize cannabis.
Both medical marijuana and adult-use (recreational) cannabis are legal to use in Maine. And in 2020, the recreational cannabis market had almost $60 million in sales, during the first year of operation.
It was an impressive figure, given that the first sales of recreational cannabis did happen until October 9, 2020. However, the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy reported that the medical cannabis sector reached $250 million in sales in 2020 alone.
In Maine, the medical card is called a ‘certificate.’
In order to apply for a medical card, the patient must be a resident of Maine. The individual must have a valid state driver’s license or government issued photo identification.
Maine has another requirement that is unique to the state. Patients applying for a medical card may not have any drug-related felony offenses on record, for a period of ten years prior to application.
Patients who have been diagnosed with one (or more than one) of the following health conditions are qualified to apply for a Maine medical card:
Unlike other states, Maine does not consider mental health symptoms other than PTSD as qualifying health conditions. That includes clinical anxiety or depression.
Most states that have also legalized adult-use (recreational) cannabis have a wide assortment of cannabis products available in dispensaries. And Maine is no different.
Patients with a medical card can visit a dispensary to purchase the following cannabis-infused or marijuana products:
There are many strains of cannabis available at both medical and adult-use dispensaries. Three of the most popular strains of cannabis in Maine include OG Kush, Blueberry, and Tangerine Dream.
You must be eighteen (18) years of age or older at the time of application to qualify for a Maine medical card. If you are a minor aged 16-18 who has emancipated, you may also apply independently for your medical card.
In Maine, doctors, nurse practitioners, and medical assistants in good regulatory standing can certify a patient for medical marijuana. The patient gets the certification for medical cannabis after a health check or evaluation by the practitioner. The recommendation from the practitioner allows the patient to register with the Maine Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP).
Patients in Maine must have a bonafide relationship with the referring practitioner. That means more than one appointment, and a health history review before the practitioner can refer you for medical cannabis.
Yes. Parents and legal guardians that are over the age of twenty-one years can help a child register for the medical cannabis program in Maine. And then, the caregiver must apply to become designated as a cannabis caregiver.
If you are the legal guardian of a minor, or a dependent adult in your care, you may apply to become a cannabis caregiver in Maine. To become a caregiver in Maine, you must become registered with the Department of Health and Human Service (DHHS). This is done by completing a form and paying a registration fee.
You must be aged twenty-one (21) years or older to become a registered caregiver in Maine. If you plan to cultivate cannabis plants at home for the patients, you must register as a cultivating caregiver on the form.
Annual renewal is required to maintain a valid Maine medical card. The renewal must be done with your original referring practitioner, who will have a link to your patient profile.
If you lose your medical card in Maine, you can request a new one. You will be required to fill out the replacement card form, and pay a $10 fee. The card will arrive between 5-10 business days after you have submitted your form and payment. After the first replacement card is issued, subsequent replacement cards will be provided at a cost of $25.
The state of Maine has medical marijuana dispensaries for patients conveniently located in many cities and towns. There are also recreational retail dispensaries available for non-medical cardholders. But patients can also visit an adult-use dispensary.
Maine is one of the few states that also have reciprocity with other state-run medical cannabis programs. That means if you have your medical card from another state, and valid photo identification, you can also purchase cannabis from a clinical dispensary. The reciprocity agreement that Maine has with other states allows visiting patients to enjoy the same legal protections. People buying medical marijuana in Maine only pay the 5.5% retail sales tax.
Recreational cannabis purchases are subject to a 10% excise tax on top of the sales tax. That means a total of 15.5% tax on all purchases for non-medical cardholders.
Voters legalized medical marijuana in Maine on November 2, 1999. State Question 2 was placed on the ballot and received 62% voter support. The first medical cannabis dispensary in Maine opened seventeen (17) months later in March 2011.
Did Maine legalize recreational cannabis to increase tourism? It wasn’t a strong motivating factor in the first year, although sales of recreational cannabis topped $60 million from October 9 to December 31, 2020.
Here are some other moments in the history of legalizing medical marijuana in Maine.
November 1999—Medical marijuana was legalized in Maine when 62% of voters supported the Question 2 initiative on the November 1999 ballot. However, it would take seventeen months before medical cannabis was available for patients.
Source Web 2021: legislature.maine.gov
May 2009—Maine Gov. John Baldacci signed LD 250, which decriminalized small amounts of cannabis. The new legislation made 2.5 ounces or less of cannabis a civil but not criminal offense, with a fine instead of a charge. This applied to first-time offenders and non-violent crimes.
Source Web 2021: norml.org
November 2016—An Act to Legalize Marijuana was renamed Maine Question 1 and included the electoral ballot on November 8, 2016. The ballot was originally blocked, but then the Maine Superior Court intervened and ordered the Maine Secretary of State to reconsider the petition. Gov. Paul LePage had also declined to enact the proposal, which led to a statewide referendum. Question 1 passed with a slim margin of 50.3% of voters supporting the legalization of adult use.
Source Web 2021: ballotpedia.org
Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program (MMMP)
Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS)
Department Of Administrative & Financial Services
Burton M. Cross Building
1st Floor Room 109
Augusta, ME 04330
Maine Medical Marijuana Program
State House Station #162
Augusta, ME 04333-0162
Phone: (207) 287-3282
Phone: (207) 287-9330
Website: Maine Medical Marijuana Program
The State of Maine has a legalized medical marijuana program, which allows patients to receive a medical marijuana recommendation from a certified physician, and apply for a state-issued Maine Medical Marijuana Card, permitting the patient to purchase marijuana for medicinal use, as per Maine state guidelines.
Since the Maine medical marijuana program is still changing their laws and new Maine medical marijuana laws are being enacted on a regular basis, please be sure to visit our site frequently to get the most updated laws as it pertains to the Maine medical marijuana program. Please click a corresponding link to find out more about Maine’s Medical Marijuana Program. We have compiled the following Maine medical marijuana index of information to serve as a medical library to our users for legal reference of Maine’s laws, guidelines and program details regarding medical cannabis use in Maine.
Please note: In order to become a legal medical marijuana patient you must first have a qualifying condition as outlined by the department of health services and/or department of justice. For a comprehensive list of Maine’s qualifying medical marijuana conditions, please visit our qualifying conditions section located on the top of our menu under “legal states”.