Maine is one of the most conflicted states to have successfully legalized marijuana and its policies on recreational use reflect this. There have been arguments, recounts, and the final successful referendum was passed against the wishes of the standing Governor who has made it clear that he will continue to oppose legalization. Even municipalities are preparing to locally ban recreational retail because they are afraid of becoming overrun with ‘weed tourism’ as has happened to the more cannabis-friendly states. If you’re smoking, vaping, or cooking with cannabis in Maine this year, make sure to step lightly and watch out for authorities who are not thrilled about marijuana in their jurisdictions. Here’s a quick summary of the current state laws for anyone worried about crossing one of the strict lines between legal recreational marijuana use and finding yourself charged with a drug crime.
Your Personal Possession
While Maine is still dragging its feet on other issues, the present law permits adults over the age of 21 to possess a personal amount sufficient for consumption but less than what could be considered possession with intent to distribute. If you are in possession of 2.5 ounces or less of leafy buds or crumbles, you are within your Maine established rights to a reasonable recreational amount. You can also possess up to five grams of concentrates or hash. Any greater amounts can result in increased fines and jail time ranging from 6 months and $1,000 to 10 years and $20,000.
Where to Partake
Like other legalizing states, while you allowed to possess and partake in marijuana, you cannot do so in any place considered public. This definition can be sparingly or broadly construed, and in Maine you should expect fairly strict enforcement. This doesn’t just mean on public or private property, it also means in public view. While you cannot smoke in parks, on the street, or at the beach, commercial venues can rent you a room that becomes private as long as it isn’t visible to other customers. For this reason, hotel rooms are considered private. Most country-wide chains are sticking with federal law but you can find 420 friendly lodging in local establishments and private residences through AirBnB. Smoking on a private porch is allowed but you are encouraged to keep it out of sight.
When to Call a Lawyer
If you are charged with a marijuana-based crime in Maine, it is critical to call a lawyer. The severity of your charge and potential consequences will be based on the amount you are found with and your perceived intent. The consequences for distribution, trafficking or furnishing may be added onto penalties for possession and can substantially increase the jail time and fines you could face. Just to be clear about the terms:
- Distribution: Selling or being a part of selling marijuana
- Trafficking: A higher level of selling, being more deeply involved or with a greater quantity to sell.
- Furnishing: Providing marijuana to people who aren’t allowed to have it (like teenagers)
Intent to sell or distribute may be found even if there is no evidence of an exchange and pre-packaged amounts are usually considered sufficient evidence to infer intent to distribute at the very least. When it comes to marijuana charges in Maine, you don’t want to take your chances. A lawyer who is well-versed in the new marijuana laws can help you make the right decisions based on the details of your case. For anyone who uses marijuana in Maine or is considering doing so, make sure to keep up-to-date on the laws. With the current state-wide split in opinion, new policies could result in more lenient or more aggressive treatment of marijuana cases. For more information or legal advice on marijuana laws in Maine, please contact us today.