Stirring the pot Six months of legal adult use marijuana in Maine – Cover Story – NewsPosted by On


A Brief Legal History of Cannabis in Maine

The journey to retail legalization was a lengthy one, though it should be noted that Maine has had a relatively positive history with marijuana compared to other states.

The prohibition against the drug in Maine was enacted back in 1913, part of the wave of anti-marijuana sentiment of the time. And for more than half-a-century, the status quo was maintained. But as the country crept into the 1970s, things slowly began to change.

It was in 1975 that the state passed legislation decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of cannabis, with the laws enacted the next year. This made Maine the third state to do so, following Oregon in 1973 and Alaska, also in 1975. A handful of states quickly followed over the next few years, thanks largely to the efforts of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

The next leap forward came more than 20 years later, when citizens of Maine voted to legalize marijuana usage for medicinal purposes in 1999. More than 62% of the voting population approved the change by voting yes on Question 2.

Another major step occurred in 2009, when then-Governor John Baldacci signed into law a broader decriminalization of marijuana; possession of 2.5 ounces or less of cannabis became a civil infraction rather than a criminal one.

In the years that followed, a handful of municipalities would hold votes on legalization within their city limits, though not all of these efforts would…

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A Brief Legal History of Cannabis in Maine

The journey to retail legalization was a lengthy one, though it should be noted that Maine has had a relatively positive history with marijuana compared to other states.

The prohibition against the drug in Maine was enacted back in 1913, part of the wave of anti-marijuana sentiment of the time. And for more than half-a-century, the status quo was maintained. But as the country crept into the 1970s, things slowly began to change.

It was in 1975 that the state passed legislation decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of cannabis, with the laws enacted the next year. This made Maine the third state to do so, following Oregon in 1973 and Alaska, also in 1975. A handful of states quickly followed over the next few years, thanks largely to the efforts of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

The next leap forward came more than 20 years later, when citizens of Maine voted to legalize marijuana usage for medicinal purposes in 1999. More than 62% of the voting population approved the change by voting yes on Question 2.

Another major step occurred in 2009, when then-Governor John Baldacci signed into law a broader decriminalization of marijuana; possession of 2.5 ounces or less of cannabis became a civil infraction rather than a criminal one.

In the years that followed, a handful of municipalities would hold votes on legalization within their city limits, though not all of these efforts would…



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