Across the country, states are starting to legalize recreational marijuana. Following Colorado and Washington’s lead, about half the states have legal medical marijuana, and many are decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Maine joined the growing list of states allowing recreational marijuana when voters approved a ballot initiative in 2016, allowing for the possession of up to 2.4 ounces of usable marijuana and the home cultivation of up to six plants.
Marijuana Drug Classification
Federal law and many states classify drugs from Schedule I at the highest level to Schedule V at the least dangerous. Supposedly, these schedules are determined by the drugs accepted medical uses and potential for addiction and harm. However, marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance by federal law with such drugs as heroin and meth, which could be for more of a political than medical reason.
Maine classifies drugs from W at the top to Z at the least dangerous. While recreational use of marijuana is legal to a certain extent, amounts greater than 2.5 ounces per person are still illegal, as is the public consumption of the herb.
Maine Marijuana Laws
The following table details Maine’s marijuana laws.
||Maine Code Revised Title 17-A, Chapter 45: Drugs
||Possession of marijuana in Maine is punished by the amount of weed the person has, as follows:
- Up to 2.5 ounces – No penalty
- 2.5 to 8 ounces – Class E crime that can be sentenced to up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000
- 8 to 16 ounces – Class D crime punished by up to one year in jail and a $2,000
- 1 to 20 pounds – Class C crime (presumed to be trafficking or furnishing after 1 pound) penalized by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine
- Over 20 pounds – Class B crime subject to up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine
If the material is actually industrial hemp, such as used to make rope or clothing, it’s not a crime.
||Maine law prohibits the furnishing, giving, administering, delivering, or otherwise transferring marijuana, or possessing it to do those things. Possession of at least one pound of marijuana or more will result in a person being assumed to be furnishing or trafficking Mary Jane.
Trafficking or selling or distributing marijuana is also illegal. It’s punished based on marijuana weight as shown above.
Trafficking or furnishing marijuana can be aggravating or increased in penalty for trafficking or furnishing to a child or using a child, having a prior Class A, B, or C drug convictions, using a gun, or within 1,000 feet of a school or on a school bus or park, field, etc.
When aggravated, it will be a Class C offense. However, if the amount of marijuana was 20 pounds or more, than it’s a Class A offense and if 1 pound or more that it’s a Class B crime.
In addition, when a car is used to furnish or traffick marijuana, then the defendant’s driver’s license can be suspended for up to 5 years after he or she is released from jail or prison.
Note: As the recreational marijuana law matures, the state may offer licenses for lmarijuana dispensaries.
Cultivating marijuana is legal in Maine, as long as individuals don't grow more than six plants at a time. The penalty for cultivating more than this depends on the number of plants, as follows:
- 7 - 100: 1 year in jail, $2,000 fine
- 101 - 499: 5 years in prison; $5,000 fine
- More than 500: 10 years; $20,000 fine
Cultivating can also be aggravated if the person does any of the same things (using children to cultivate, using a firearm in the crime, etc.). When aggravated, the crime is increased by one level.
Note: As the recreational marijuana law matures, the state may offer licenses for larger-scale cultivation to be sold at dispensaries.
||Sometimes, states prohibit drug paraphernalia or accessories, as well as drugs. Maine law prohibits the trafficking, furnishing, or possession of certain marijuana cultivation or use accessories, such as cutting kits or water bongs or pipes. While generally a Class E crime, it can be increased to a Class D crime for selling or giving marijuana drug accessories to a child under 16.
Advertising illegal drug paraphernalia is a Class E crime.
If you’re charged with a marijuana-related crime, you should talk to an experienced drug crime defense lawyer.
Note: State laws change often. Conduct your own legal research or contact a lawyer to verify these drug crime laws.
Research the Law