Marijuana Legalization Ballot Initiative

On November 8, 2016, Maine voters will be allowed to decide whether or not to legalize marijuana. The Act to Legalize Marijuana ballot initiative will ask citizens:

“Do you want to allow the possession and use of marijuana under state law by persons who are at least 21 years of age, and allow the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?”

The measure provides for licensing of the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of retail marijuana and retail products in the state of Maine, with licensing under authority of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

Pursuant to the act, a person 21 years of age or older would be permitted to use and possess up to two and one-half ounces of marijuana and accessories, as well as cultivate plants in the home, among other things. Use is restricted to nonpublic places, such as the person’s residence, and all of the prohibitions and limitations on smoking tobacco products in specified areas under Title 22, Chapters 262 and 263 would apply to smoking marijuana. A person using marijuana in Maine would not be shielded from federal prosecution, however. If enacted, the law would not impact or limit any rights under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act.

With regards to employers, the initiative specifically states that the law cannot be construed to require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, trade, display, transportation, sale, or growing of cannabis in the workplace. Further, it would not impact the employer’s ability to enact and enforce workplace policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees or to discipline employees who are under the influence of marijuana in the workplace. However, an employer would not be able to refuse to employ or otherwise penalize a person 21 years of age or older solely based on that person consuming marijuana outside of the employer’s property.

Read the Ballot Initiative