Current Status of the Legalization Act – Recreational FAQs

What is the status of Question One?

Maine voters went to the polls last November and approved the passage of Question One. It survived a partial recount in December and some legislative tinkering in January but the initiative is now law, known as the Marijuana Legalization Act. It went into effect on January 30, 2017.

Why was it amended before it took effect?

Opponents argued that the language in Question One was flawed, that the referendum was worded in a way that did not specifically prohibit the use of marijuana in motor vehicles, or prohibit the use and possession of marijuana by individuals under the age of twenty-one. Legislation was enacted in January to fix these provisions.

If the governor signed the bill into law and those provisions are fixed, why can’t I walk into a dispensary, or drugstore, or liquor store, or tobacconist or coffee shop and purchase cannabis over the counter?

Question One gave the state nine months to come up with rules and regulations concerning the retail sale of cannabis. Supporters argued that nine months was plenty of time to accomplish that task, but in January the Legislature extended that deadline by three months, meaning that the retail sale of cannabis to adults twenty-one and over, will not begin until at least February of 2018.  Additionally, the slow pace of implementation may push this date out until at least the Summer of 2018.

Between now and then, what is legal and what is not?

Mainers are still over a year away from being able to join a cannabis social club or walk into a retail establishment and purchase it over the counter, but in the meantime, adults can use, possess or transport up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis or a combination of 2.5 ounces of cannabis and cannabis concentrate that includes no more than 5 grams of concentrate.

Legally, adults are allowed to transfer to other adults up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis or a combination of 2.5 ounces of cannabis and cannabis concentrate that includes no more than 5 grams of concentrate, but the transaction cannot be done in exchange for money or something of value.

Although qualified medical patients are still allowed to purchase and possess edibles from registered dispensaries and primary caregivers, a non-patient may not possess retail edibles until February 1, 2018.  However, that non-patient adult user may produce their own edibles.

Current Status of the Legalization Act – Medical FAQs

Now that Question One has become law, what happens to the state medical cannabis program?

Nothing changes. It does nothing to alter the existing medical cannabis program. A section in the new law states clearly that legalization “may not be construed  to limit any privileges or rights of a qualifying patient… or registered dispensary under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act.”

I am currently a certified medical cannabis patient. Do I need to renew my certification?

Yes. You should renew your certification. Full implementation of the new adult use law will take place over the coming year. Cannabis will not be available over the counter until at least February 2018.

After that, will there be any need to continue as a certified medical cannabis patient?

Unless the medical condition that qualified you to be certified disappears, it makes sense to continue to see your medical provider as directed.  When cannabis becomes available over the counter, it will be taxed at least at 10%, while patients under the state medical cannabis program will continue to purchase it at a tax rate of 5.5%.

Are there any other advantages to remaining certified?

There are protections for patients under the state medical cannabis program that do not extend to adult-use of cannabis. Qualified patients “may not be denied any right or privilege” by landlords, in the workplace, at schools or in cases of divorce, in the determination of parental rights, solely because an individual is a qualified medical cannabis patient.  Also, a qualified patient may not be subjected to arrest, prosecution, penalty or disciplinary action, including but not limited to a civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for lawfully engaging in conduct involving the medical use of cannabis.  There are also legal protections for hospitals, nursing homes, and hospice facilities if they allow the medical use of cannabis in those facilities.  Finally, the medical cannabis laws allow qualified patients who are children to be able to take their medicine, including provisions that would even allow the children to take the medicine in a school setting.

Are there any similarities between the use of cannabis by qualified patients and adult-use of cannabis under legalization?

Qualified patients and adult users both can possess the same amount (2.5 ouncese) of cannabis and can grow the same number (6) of harvestable female plants.  The greatest similarities are the places where the use of cannabis is prohibited. Whether you are state-certified, or an adult using cannabis under legalization, cannabis cannot be used in any form in a school bus or on the grounds of a preschool, primary or secondary school (unless specific protocols are followed for qualified child patients). No one can use cannabis on any form of public transportation or in any public place, or while operating,navigating, or riding in any motor vehicle, including aircraft, motorboats, snowmobiles, or all-terrain vehicles.

Medical FAQs – General

Is it legal for me to use marijuana?

In Maine, qualified patients can legally use cannabis (marijuana) as medicine under a doctor’s supervision. Cannabis remains illegal under federal law.

What are the medical conditions that make a person eligible for the state medical cannabis program?

Maine residents with at least one of the following debilitating medical conditions may ask their doctor for a recommendation for medical use of cannabis:
–      Cancer
–      Glaucoma
–      Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
–      Hepatitis C
–      ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
–      Crohn’s disease
–      Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
–      Nail-patella syndrome
–      Intractable pain, or a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe nausea, seizures (such as those characteristic of epilepsy) or severe and persistent muscle spasms (such as those characteristic of multiple sclerosis)
–      Intractable pain that has not responded to traditional treatments for 6 months or more.
–      PTSD

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders and other diseases causing severe and persistent muscle spasms.

What can medical marijuana do for me?

Cannabis is a natural alternative to opioid painkillers. It can improve digestive motility, calm muscle spasms, stimulate appetite, lift depression, and more—safely and non-synthetically. Unlike other drugs (even aspirin), there is no lethal dose of cannabis.

If I use marijuana, will I be able to go through my day?

Yes. Wellness Connection of Maine offers strains that are rich in CBDs–compounds that combat symptoms without causing psychoactive effects (the “high” that many folks find uncomfortable). Your WCM staff will be happy to assist you in finding the type of cannabis, and the delivery method, that work best for your needs.

How do I get a certification for medical marijuana?

In Maine, any M.D., D.O. or C.N.P. (as of August 1st, 2014)  can recommend cannabis for qualifying patients. Once your doctor has provided a certification, you can designate a dispensary to provide your medicine by completing a simple form at the dispensary site.

Do I have to smoke to use medical marijuana?

Wellness Connection of Maine offers many options to the non-smoker. Our trained staff will teach you about the benefits of edibles, topicals, and vaporizing, and help you find the best fit for your needs. Always use the smallest amount to provide the relief you need–your proper dosage will depend on factors such as delivery method and individual metabolism.

Does Wellness Connection of Maine have organic certification?

Wellness Connection of Maine does not use organic methods of growing our medicine, as there is currently no USDA process for organic certification of cannabis at this current junction of time.

State law requires that we cultivate all of our own medicine. Our goal is to produce safe and high-quality medicine while minimizing our impact on the environment. We are working actively with state environmental engineers to assess and further minimize our environmental footprint.

Did You Know? WCM uses NO pesticides or store-bought nutrients, bud boosters, or foliar sprays. Our bio-secure cultivation facility uses only environmental and biological controls to prevent pests, mold, and other contaminants.  

I’m afraid to talk to my doctor about this. What do I do?

Have an honest, informed talk with your doctor or nurse practitioner about why you are interested in trying medical cannabis! If s/he is reluctant, find out why. Many doctors are concerned that cannabis doesn’t fall neatly into the traditional pill-based dosing regimen. Some might not be aware of the many studies demonstrating that cannabis has medical efficacy.

How can I access my medicine?

By law, medical cannabis users are allowed to access their medicine from several sources. They can:
–      Grow up to 6 cannabis plants on their own; or
–      Designate a caregiver to grow 6 cannabis plants for them; or
–      Designate a dispensary to grow up to 6 cannabis plants for them.

Maine State law allows medical cannabis users who choose to grow fewer plants to designate a dispensary to grow the rest of them, to ensure access to a source of medicine until their plants are mature. The total number of mature, flowering plants can never exceed 6.  Residents who grow their own may have an additional number of plants in other stages of growth (seedlings or starts) to ensure their next generation.

How much medicine can I have access to each month?

By law, medical cannabis users can have access to five (5) ounces of prepared cannabis per month, to be dispensed in 2.5 ounce increments every 15 days.  That means that qualified residents can possess and transport up to 2.5 oz. of medicine at any given time.

Why should I use a dispensary?

Dispensaries offer a safe, private and welcoming environment and a consistent supply of quality medicine. We are state-licensed and are held to rigorous standards for security, quality, and inventory control. Wellness Connection of Maine also offers educational and wellness services at no additional cost, and we support local charities and other non-profits who share our values.

What is a dispensary?

Wellness Connection of Maine’s dispensaries are inviting, safe, clean and accessible healing centers that combine the best features of a pharmacy, social service agency, community center and wellness practice in one convenient location. It is a place where you can confidently purchase quality, safe medicine from friendly people who care about you, in a form that suits your needs and at reasonable prices.

Who can come to a dispensary?

Only qualified users and their caretakers are allowed into the dispensary. No one under the age of 18 is allowed into the dispensary under any circumstances. The only exception is underage patients during their first intake appointment with their guardians/parents.

I am a Maine resident, what documents should I bring to a dispensary?

Wellness Connection of Maine is licensed by the state to provide consistent, safe access to medical cannabis to qualified Maine residents. We know that you have other choices to access your medicine, and we are grateful for the opportunity to serve you. Since we’re overseen by the state, we are bound by law to strictly uphold the letter and intention of Maine’s law.

Every time you come to the dispensary to purchase medicine or use our other services, you must show your:
–      Valid Maine State ID (Driver’s License or State Photo ID)
–      Valid, current proof that you are a Maine medical cannabis patient, either:

  • Original, tamper-proof Physician’s Certification; or
  • DHHS issued Medical Cannabis Program card

We do not accept other forms of ID (such as cards issued from doctor’s offices, other photo IDS, passports, etc. …) By law, if you do not have the proper ID, we must turn you away. Avoid disappointment and come prepared!

I am an out-of-state visiting patient, what documents should I bring to a dispensary?

Wellness Connection of Maine is now accepting out-of-state members (visiting qualifying patients)

A visiting qualifying patient (non Maine resident, out-of-state visitor) is a patient with a debilitating medical condition who is not a resident of Maine or who has been a resident of Maine less than 30 days, who is qualified by another jurisdiction for the medical use of marijuana.

A qualifying patient visiting Maine from another jurisdiction that authorizes the medical use of marijuana pursuant to a law or regulation of another state or political subdivision may engage in conduct authorized for a qualifying patient by these rules if the following 3 criteria are met:

  • Maine certification: The visitor shall possess a valid Maine-approved written physician certification form completed, signed and dated by the visitor’s home-jurisdiction treating physician. The Maine form is available on the division’s webpage as well as instructions for your physician to receive sealed tamper-proof paper.
  • Home-jurisdiction certification: The visitor shall possess a valid medical use of marijuana certification issued by the visitor’s home-jurisdiction. (If you are a Massachusetts resident, please follow all of the Patient Registration Step-by-Step Instructions HERE).
  • Photographic identification: The visitor shall possess a valid photographic identification card or driver’s license issued by the visitor’s home-jurisdiction.

What type of medicine can I purchase during a visit?

Wellness Connection of Maine knows that one person’s preferred way of taking their medicine might not suit another. We provide cannabis in a variety of strains, and in a number of preparations, including smokeable flower, fresh-baked edibles and cannabis tinctures. This range allows our clients to choose which methods work best for them. We also offer a variety of tools and accessories to help you administer your medicine and books and magazines of interest.

I live on a very fixed income. What if I cannot afford my medicine?

Wellness Connection of Maine has a price structure aimed towards making wellness services and medicine affordable for all of its members. Ask our staff if you qualify for any preferred rates.