Maine’s Recreational Cannabis Laws Go Into Effect January 30th, 2017
This past November, Maine was one of four states voting to legalize recreational cannabis. The initiative was referred to as the Maine Marijuana Legalization Measure (a.k.a. Question 1). According to unofficial election-day results, Question 1 passed by a margin of less than one percent – or approximately 4,073 votes.
Due to the measure’s narrow victory, opponents (the No On 1 campaign) filed a petition, demanding a recount. After receiving at least 100 signatures, Maine’s secretary of state, Matthew Dunlap, certified the recount petition, and the recount began in early December.
In order to ensure the integrity of the recount process, groups of three were selected, consisting of one secretary of state staff member, one supporting volunteer, and one volunteer from the opposition. Larger cities, like Portland, were to be counted first, and then the teams would move on to smaller, less populated communities. After the first seven days, the recount team had reviewed approximately 30 percent of the votes, and there was no statistically significant change in the results, which led many supporters to complain that the recount was an epic waste of time and money.
If the margin of votes is greater than 1.5 percent, then it’s up to the individual campaigns to cover the costs associated with the recount process. However, since the margin for Question 1 was less than 1 percent, the cost was covered by the state. By this point the recount had already cost taxpayers about $15,000, and it was estimated that recounting 100 percent of the votes would cost over $500,000 and take over a month to complete. On December 17th, the No On 1 campaign officially withdrew their petition and halted the recount.
Maine’s new recreational cannabis laws are expected to go into effect by the end of January. On January 3rd, Maine’s Secretary of State department signed the proclamation, and confirmed that Question 1 will go into effect on Monday, January 30th, 2016.
We have received the signed proclamation for Question 1, dated Dec. 31, from the Governor’s office. Becomes law in 30 days from signed date.
— MaineSOS (@MESecOfState) January 3, 2017
Question 1 will make it legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow up to six plants in their home. The new law also allow for the licensure of cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and processing facilities, and retail stores and social clubs where residents can purchase and consume cannabis.
Click here for more information on Question 1 and Maine cannabis laws.
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