It has been a long, strange trip for Question 1, the Maine marijuana legalization measure passed by a majority of voters last November. The Pine Tree State passed cannabis legalization along with Massachusetts, California and Nevada in 2016 and the state’s residents have had to wait the longest of all of the legalized states to legally cultivate and possess cannabis. The wait is officially over and Mainers will experience additional freedom, create jobs and generate more revenue for their great state.
Maine’s legalization law allows regular possession of up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana and the cultivation of 6 flowering plants, 6 immature plants and an unlimited number of seedlings. Adult cultivators of cannabis are allowed to possess the sum of the harvest at their residence.
Maine’s legalization law has had to survive the outright hostility of (seemingly unstable) Governor Paul LePage. Lepage campaigned against Question 1, argued that voters didn’t understand the legalization law, signed a moratorium on the implementation of regulated cannabis sales and has promised an executive order changing the oversight duties of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations.
Despite the likely continued interference of Governor LePage, Maine residents will enjoy the benefits of ending cannabis regulations. Law enforcement resources will be better prioritized by reducing the number of citations, arrests, prosecutions and jailings for cannabis offenses. Once the state government implements the will of the voters and allows regulated cannabis commerce to begin, thousands of new jobs will help stimulate the local economy and millions in new tax revenue will be generated for important social services.
Now that Maine has legalized cannabis, there are now more than 68 million American residents living under state legalization laws, more than one-fifth of the U.S. population. It is evident that the momentum for ending the harmful and racist policy of cannabis prohibition is strong across the nation and we can soon expect more states to soon join Maine, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., and legalize cannabis. Thank you to the civil rights advocates that helped pass Question 1 and make a dent in the failed Drug War. Enjoy responsibly!