This week it became clear that Maine will have legal recreational marijuana after all. With the adult use legalization initiative opponents dropping their request for a recount, Maine will have to take only a few more steps to implement the new law.
In the best case scenario, it will take a bit over a month for the new law to take effect. Therefore, Mainers who are 21 and older will be able to start using marijuana for recreational purposes at the end of January or early February 2017.
Maine officials will have to take three steps towards implementing the law that legalizes adult use of marijuana across the state. First, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap will have to certify the results of the recreational marijuana ballot measure. Once Mr. Dunlap does so, the results of Question 1 will be sent to Maine Governor Paul LePage. Governor LePage will have 10 more days to issue the official proclamation. Finally, 30 days after the official proclamation of the results, the new recreational cannabis law will take effect.
The new Maine recreational marijuana law is quite similar to the corresponding laws in other states. It allows adults who are 21 and older to use, possess, and cultivate weed for personal use. In particular, Mainers over 21 will be allowed to:
It is still illegal, however, to smoke weed in public or on the federal property.
As for recreational marijuana stores and social clubs, the state is expected to issue its first licenses before 2018.
According to unofficial results of the vote released on the Election Day, Maine recreational marijuana measure passed by only a bit more than 4,000 votes. It gave the opponents of marijuana legalization a reason to ask for a recount. But after they recounted nearly 30 percent of votes and did not see any significant changes in the results, the opponents of Question 1 finally decided to abandon their call for a recount.
Maine is one of the four states that legalized recreational cannabis this November. Along with Maine, adult-use marijuana initiatives were approved by voters in California, Massachusetts, and Nevada.