Although Maine has always been one of the pioneering states when it comes to marijuana legalization, it is strange to see that its adult-use market is not doing as well as expected. Even though the Pine Tree state was one of the first to decriminalize marijuana, legalize its medical use, and eventually its recreational use, its adult-use industry is still moving on wobbly legs, unlike its contemporaries. After the state had finally adopted rules for adult-use cannabis businesses in June 2019 and issued its first conditional licenses last March, another obstacle got in the way. Unfortunately, the unexpected COVID pandemic effectively blocked what was supposedly the launch of Maine’s retail marijuana market last spring.
In addition to this, the state is also dealing with a lawsuit from local marijuana businesses because of its decision to open the adult-use marijuana market to non-residents. This means that Maine residents will largely have to depend on the marijuana that they grow for their personal supply. However, do Maine marijuana laws actually allow residents to grow enough weed for themselves? Let’s find out.
This article was reviewed and updated for 2021.
- Overview of Cannabis Growing Laws in Maine
- History of marijuana in Maine
- Growing medical vs recreational marijuana in Maine
- How to apply as a patient or caregiver
- Marijuana home cultivation laws outside of Maine
- FAQs about growing marijuana in Maine
Overview of Cannabis Growing Laws in Maine
Compared to other weed states, Maine marijuana laws are a bit more generous. Below are the growing limits for recreational and medical marijuana in the state:
- All adults aged 21 and up may grow up to 3 mature marijuana plants, 12 immature plants, and an unlimited number of seedlings. The owner may legally keep all the marijuana from these plants. You may find conflicting information online on the actual plant limit for home growing recreational marijuana. This is because Maine’s legislature approved a moratorium in January 2017 that raised the growing limit to 6 mature plants.
- Registered medical marijuana patients and their caregivers are also allowed to grow 6 mature plants, 12 immature plants, and an unlimited number of seedlings.
- Marijuana plants must be grown and kept away from public view in a place in the owner’s residence which can be locked.
- Each plant must be tagged with a label that bears the owner’s name, driver’s license or state identification card number, and a notation that the plant is being grown as authorized by law.
Given that you can grow around 1 to 5 oz per plant, the yield from 6 oz is quite sufficient for recreational use.
This was last updated in June 2020. We will be updating this guide with new developments that may come out.
Punishments for Violating Maine Home Grow Laws
The punishments for violating Maine marijuana laws seem to be more relaxed compared to Colorado, which is considered to be the premier marijuana state in the US:
- 7 to 100 plants: 1 year in jail, $2,000 fine
- 101 – 499: 5 years in prison; $5,000 fine
- More than 500: 10 years; $20,000 fine
It might be worth mentioning that the crimes are increased by a level under aggravated cultivation. Growing marijuana with the help of minors or with firearms falls under this kind of crime.
History of marijuana in Maine
From being one of the first few states to ban marijuana in 1913, Maine sure has come a long way. It was one of the states that decriminalized weed in 1975, just right after Oregon in 1973. It then legalized medical marijuana in 1999, just 3 years after California first did it under its historic Proposition 215.
The Pine Tree State would then take a few more years to legalize recreational marijuana. Portland made sure to set the stage for this move when it legalized recreational marijuana in 2013, with South Portland following suit in 2014. In 2016, weed finally won in Maine when residents decided in favor of its legalization in the citizen-initiated referendum Question 1, although by a slim margin.
Growing medical vs recreational marijuana in Maine
As previously mentioned, all residents aged 21 and over can cultivate 3 mature or flowering cannabis plants, 12 immature ones (still in a vegetative state with no flowers), and an unlimited number of seedlings under Maine marijuana laws.
The growing limit is the same for both recreational and medical marijuana.
Residents can grow at home or on anybody’s property as long as the property owner agrees to it in writing. Since your plants have to be kept away from public view, it means grow sites are almost always indoor, in which case they will have to be inspected by State electrical inspectors.
All mature and immature cannabis plants have to be tagged with a label that bears the following information:
- The plant owner’s name, driver’s license number, or identification number.
- A note indicating that the plant is being grown for personal adult use.
- The name of the owner of the property where it is being grown.
Possession and use
Likewise, both recreational and medical marijuana users aged 21 and over can carry up to 2.5 oz of on them legally as long as it is in a sealed, child-proof container. Given that the registration to the Maine Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP) is voluntary, there is almost no difference in the rules between adult use and medical use cannabis except for 2 things:
- Medical marijuana is subject to normal sales tax but not an excise tax. Meanwhile, recreational marijuana is subject to increased sales tax as well as an excise tax.
- Only adults aged 21 and up can legally use recreational marijuana. Minors can only use medical marijuana if they are registered in the MMMP.
- Medical marijuana patients from selected states can purchase medical marijuana in Maine without certification from a medical provider from the state, or designate a registered caregiver or dispensary.
It goes without saying that the consumption of marijuana in public is also illegal. This is a civil violation that will get you a $100 fine.
How to apply as a patient or caregiver
While registration in the MMMP is voluntary for Maine residents 21 and up, it does give cardholders additional legal protection. After all, it is free. However, it is not optional for caregivers and minor patients. To register, fill out the correct registration form on this page.
Those who wish to apply for an MMMP ID card must secure a physician’s certification. The form and certification expire on the same date and must be renewed annually.
Minors are only eligible for medical marijuana if they have a qualifying condition. Those who wish to apply must include a parental consent document, as well as copies of any documents establishing a parental relationship or legal guardianship with their application. The parent or legal custodian/guardian must also apply as a caregiver on behalf of the minor.
Meanwhile, caregivers need to be at least 21 years of age and should not have been convicted of a disqualifying drug offense. Before caregivers can grow for their patients, they must first be registered in the MMMP, unless they live in the same household as the patient or is the patient’s family member.
Patients can also designate secondary caregivers to grow for them if they are:
- An incapacitated adult.
- A minor under the age of 18.
- A registered patient in a hospice or nursing home.
There are some pretty hefty fees in Maine’s caregiver application process. At the very least, a caregiver who wants to grow 6 plants for 1 patient will have to pay $240 plus a background check fee of $31. All the associated fees can be seen in the caregiver application form on the DAFS website.
Marijuana home cultivation laws outside of Maine
How does Maine’s marijuana laws compare with home growing laws in other US states? Check out our post on Marijuana Growing Laws in the United States.
FAQs about growing marijuana in Maine
Yes, it is legal to grow recreational cannabis at home in Maine.
The law allows residents of legal age to grow 3 mature (flowering) plants, 12 immature ones, and an unlimited number of seedlings for medical and recreational purposes.
Yes it is legal to home grow medical cannabis in Maine.
The cultivation limit for both medical and recreational marijuana is the same: 3 mature (flowering) plants, 12 immature ones, and an unlimited number of seedlings.
In a locked place on any property as long as the grower has the consent of the property owner in writing. The plants should be kept away from public view.
Residents have to be at least 21 years of age to grow for recreational use and patients at least 18 to grow medical marijuana at home in Maine.
It’s no surprise that Maine is one of the top destinations for weed in the US. Compared to other marijuana states, Maine’s 6 plant growing limit is quite generous. Maine marijuana laws are also not as stiff considering that the possession limit is 2.5 oz and even the registration to its marijuana program is voluntary. However, there are still some important rules that any marijuana home grower in Maine should keep in mind:
- Grow your marijuana plants away from public view in a secure space.
- All plants that aren’t seedlings should properly be tagged with the information required by the state government.
- Keep your stash at home and never carry more than 2.5 oz.
- Never give marijuana to minors. Only caregivers can give marijuana to minors registered in Maine’s medical marijuana program.