So now that we know what the deal is in Nevada, let’s take a look at the other side of the country. This November, two Northeastern states will be voting on legalizing cannabis- Maine and Massachusetts. Both of these states are majorly liberal so we can only assume that the chances of legalizing are fairly promising. For now, I’m going to take a closer look into Maine– a hippie-go-lucky state, if you will, that’s about to get a whole lot luckier.
A long road to the ballot
Maine is one of those states that couldn’t possibly get more liberal even if it tried. With that being said, you’d think cannabis would be legal by now but, actually, it took some serious pushing and just to get the initiative to qualify for this November’s ballot.
The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol needed to collect 61,123 signatures by February 1, 2016, in order to make it to the ballot. Instead, the petitioners went above and beyond by collecting around 100,000 signatures… you know, just to make sure.
But, of course, it still wouldn’t be that easy.
One month later, Maine’s Secretary of State announced that only 51,543 of the required signatures were valid and that it wouldn’t be enough to qualify for the ballot. Hmm, that doesn’t sound right…
Naturally, confident that more than enough of the submitted signatures were valid, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol filed a lawsuit and in the end, the court overturned the ruling. Now, Maine is back in the running and things seem to be looking pretty promising up north.
The Maine vote: Question 1
Maine is certainly no stranger to cannabis. Medical cannabis has been legal in the state since 1999, so it’s only about time they legalize it for recreational use. Come November, registered voters in Maine will vote on ‘Question 1’ to decide whether or not to legalize cannabis for personal use.
So, if passed, here’s what falls under Question 1:
- Licenses will be provided to cannabis retailers, suppliers, testing facilities and distributors (locations, as well as the number of dispensaries will be limited).
- Licenses will be provided to retail cannabis social clubs where cannabis may be sold for use on licensed premises.
- The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry will regulate and control the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, and sale of cannabis.
- Anyone who consumes cannabis in public may be subject to a fine of not more than $100.
- A sales tax of 10% will be placed on retail cannabis and retail cannabis products.
Plus, anyone 21 years of age or older can:
- Purchase up to 2 ½ ounces of cannabis and cannabis accessories for a retail cannabis store.
- Use, possess or transport cannabis accessories and up to 2 ½ ounces of prepared cannabis.
- Transfer or furnish, up to 2 ½ ounces of cannabis and up to 6 immature plants or seedlings to another person who is 21 years of age or older.
- Possess, grow, cultivate, process or transport up to 6 flowering cannabis plants, 12 immature plants, and unlimited seedlings, and possess all the cannabis produced by the plants at that person’s home.
- Purchase up to 12 cannabis seedlings or immature plants from a retail cannabis cultivator.
- Grow cannabis for personal use of up to 6 flowering cannabis plants.
- Consume cannabis in a nonpublic place such as a private residence.
Getting Question 1 passed this November shouldn’t be too much of a challenge now.
The most current poll from March shows that about 54% of voters support the bill, while only about 42% oppose it. It’s likely that, if passed, Maine will set the path for its fellow northeastern states that are trailing close behind. Let’s do this, Maine!