Highlights of the Maine Marijuana Legalization Initiative (ME-CRMLA)


We started our review with the Sean Parker Adult Use of Marijuana California legalization initiative and then moved on to the Marijuana Policy Project’s (MPP) Nevada marijuana legalization initiative, marketed under the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) and on the ballot for 2016 in Nevada. Then we covered the MPP initiatives for Arizona and Masschusetts, also known as CRMLA.

Today we dig into the Maine Marijuana Legalization Initiative, another CRMLA backed by MPP and Legalize Maine, the authors of the original language. The complete text with hyperlinks and my notations is available as a PDF download. Here are the highlights:

Personal Possession and Cultivation: Adults 21 and older may possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, which includes concentrate. Adults can also cultivate out of public view 6 mature flowering plants, 12 non-flowering plants over two feet tall, and an infinite amount of non-flowering plants below two feet tall (seedlings), with no limits per household, and legal possession of all the harvest from those plants at the grow site. However, home growers must tag each plant with their name and Maine driver’s license number, which I presume means only residents can home grow.

Illegal Acts: You can’t smoke pot anywhere you can’t smoke tobacco, and it’s a $100 fine if you do. Fines for violations of licensing can range from $500 to $10,000.

Consumer Rights: Landlords have to give written permission for home grows and employers and schools can still ban possession and consumption and being high there, but employment, housing, education, and parental rights cannot be denied solely for consuming marijuana (i.e. drug tests can’t be used to discriminate).

Marijuana Regulation: The state agriculture department will regulate marijuana. If a license is denied for a location, no license may be granted within 1,000 feet of that location for two years. Pot magazines, like HIGH TIMES, can only be sold in retail stores or behind the counter in places kids can enter (this will fail on First Amendment grounds). Additives designed to make marijuana products more appealing to children are banned, which sounds like a way to ban infused candy and other edibles.

Retail Shops: Marijuana is taxed at 10% at the point of sale, but medical marijuana is not taxed. Retailers can sell non-consumable items, like apparel and marijuana accessories, the only consumable items must be marijuana-infused. Social clubs can sell non-consumable items and consumable items (snacks, drinks) but not cigarettes or alcohol. Vending machines are banned. Cultivators can open their own product manufacturing and retail stores, so long as they obtain the licenses.

Commercial Licenses: Maine will specifically have licensed marijuana lounges with onsite consumption. You cannot be a licensee if, within the past ten years, you’ve been convicted of a drug crime that qualifies for a five year imprisonment or longer. Cultivation statewide is limited to a total of 800,000 square feet. 40 percent of all grow licenses must go to grows of 3,000 square feet or smaller, the rest may be 3,000 to 30,000 square feet. All licenses require a $10-$250 application fee. Grows are licensed in 100 square feet “unit blocks” that shall cost $10-$100 each. Testers cost $500, Manufacturers cost $100-$1,000, and Retailers and Social Clubs cost $250-$2,500

Medical Marijuana: The cultivation allowed for personal use is in addition to what is allowed for medical marijuana patients. Medical marijuana licensees get first priority for commercial licenses, especially if they have three or more caregiver registrations, and a 60-day headstart on applications compared to the general public.

Local Control: While the state can’t cap the total number of stores, a locality can limit or prohibit any type of licensee. Localities get half of the licensing fees. Localities can establish their own licensing requirements as well.

Of all the states likely to be voting on marijuana legalization in 2016, Maine stands out as the one that will have the greatest protection for consumers’ rights, greatest limits on personal possession and cultivation, lowest costs for commercial licensing, and its guarantee of marijuana social clubs.