Is Recreational Weed Legal in Maine?

Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
August 8, 2021
Maine Cannabis Legal
Maine Cannabis Legal

In Maine, recreational weed/marijuana use has been legal for those 21 and older since 2016, and The Pine Tree State also has a comprehensive medical marijuana program that was first developed in 2009.


History of Weed Laws

Medical marijuana technically became legal in Maine in 1999, when the November ballot allowed voters to determine whether or not seriously ill patients could legally access cannabis.  It passed with 61%, but the list of qualifying conditions was initially quite strict.


The program was finally expanded in 2009, when the Maine Medical Marijuana Act was passed in order to officially establish the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program, which paved the way for the development of dispensaries throughout the state.  Also, this act allowed for possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis.


Finally, in November of 2016, voters came together to pass An Act to Legalize Marijuana, which effectively made it legal for adults 21 or over to grow, sell, possess, and consume weed recreationally.  However, legislature passed the law back and forth before settling on LD 1719, which finally determined the specifics regarding how much cannabis a resident can cultivate, and nuances pertaining to possession.  The law was initially intended to permit cannabis hospitality businesses, but this was delayed to 2023.  Therefore, the law currently states that cannabis can only be used on private property.  Recreational marijuana retail licenses weren’t distributed until 2020.


Where Can a Person Legally Purchase Weed in Maine?

There are many licensed dispensaries in the state of Maine that are accessible to both registered medical patients and recreational users, and dispensaries are more prevalent in metropolitan areas throughout the state.  Residents can visit these dispensaries or opt for curbside pickup, which many dispensaries provide.  Also, this state permits home delivery so that dispensaries can bring marijuana products to the homes of buyers. 


Where Can Cannabis Legally Be Used?

It is illegal to consume cannabis of any kind in public, and those who violate this are subject to a $100 fine.  Meanwhile, it’s perfectly legal to consume cannabis on private property.  It is illegal to consume cannabis inside of a car, whether or not the vehicle is moving and whether you are the driver or the passenger.  Also is illegal to consume cannabis within public view and driving under the influence is strictly prohibited.


Possession Laws

Medical patients and qualified caregivers can legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of prepared marijuana, or 8 pounds of dried marijuana flower.  Recreational users are permitted to possess up to 2.5 ounces of flower or 5 grams of concentrate, and this can be transported in a vehicle when sealed and given away to other legal adults.  It is illegal for recreational users to sell marijuana to other individuals.


Can Residents Grow Their Own?

Medical patients and qualified caregivers can have up to 6 mature plants and immature 12 female plants on their property, as well as unlimited seedlings, but are prohibited from giving any cannabis away.  Recreational users can have 3 mature plants, 12 immature plants and unlimited seedlings, and can give away up to 6 immature plants as long as no money is exchanged.


Medical Marijuana

To qualify for the state’s medical marijuana program, a patient must get authorization from their healthcare provider.  Patients can then register for a card, which does not require a fee.  The state does not recognize specific qualifying conditions that determine the validity of a patient’s right to medical marijuana treatment.  Rather, a healthcare provider will recommend to the state that the patient receives access to medical marijuana based on their unique health circumstances.


Patient Qualifications:

Patients of all ages can qualify for medical marijuana if their healthcare provider believes that cannabis will be a successful treatment based on their medical needs.  Both adults and minors can apply, although minors will require some form of a caregiver.


How to Register for Medical Marijuana in Maine

To register for a medical marijuana card, the patient must obtain a certification from their healthcare provider which includes a diagnosis and a recommendation for marijuana to be used therapeutically.  They must then include this in the application form that is given to the state.  They must also indicate whether or not they will be cultivating their own cannabis.


Qualifying as a Caregiver

Maine allows a patient to authorize a single caregiver who must be approved by the state, although rare circumstances may permit a secondary caregiver.  If the caregiver is not a family member, they must register through an application process and be given a state-issued ID card.  They must be at least 21 years of age and have not been committed of a drug-related offense.  They must pay $31 for a background check, and an additional $240 if they plan to cultivate, which is an annual expense.


Registering as a Caregiver

Registering as a caregiver requires submitting an official application form through the state’s website.


Reciprocity Laws

Maine permits out-of-state residents to purchase from a state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary as long as they have their state-issued certification to do so, and have their state-issued ID with them, such as a driver’s license. 


Licensing Laws

The state requires that all cannabis products sold within the state are tested by a third-party laboratory to ensure authenticity and safety, while seeking out contaminants, impurities, and other unwanted compounds.  The lab-testing also searches for cannabinoids to determine an accurate cannabinoid breakdown.


Frequently Asked Questions

#1: When Did Weed Become Legal in Maine?

Recreational marijuana has been legal since November of 2016.


#2: Is it Legal to Dab in Maine?

Dabbing is legal in Maine, and residents can purchase concentrates at dispensaries throughout the state.


#3: Can I Drive After Using Cannabis?

Maine strictly prohibits driving while under the influence of marijuana and failing to adhere can come with strict legal penalties.


#4: Does Maine Permit Caregivers to Provide Medical Marijuana Assistance to Patients?

If you are a medical marijuana patient who is unable to administer medical marijuana, you can apply for a caregiver through the state’s application process.


#5: Can I Consume Cannabis in Public?

If you are caught consuming cannabis in public, you may have to pay a $100 fine, as it’s illegal.


#6: Where Can I Find a Dispensary?

Maine has several dispensaries throughout the state, like in Augusta and Bangor, and you can look for one by simply searching online based on your area.