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growing marijuana in maine

Frequently Asked Questions

Adult Use

Can I buy adult use marijuana?

Until adult use marijuana stores are licensed and open, it is illegal to buy or sell non-medical marijuana in Maine.

See: 28-B M.R.S. §1501(1)(C)

How old do I have to be to consume marijuana and marijuana products?

In order to possess or use non-medical marijuana in Maine, you must be 21 years of age or older.

See: 28-B M.R.S. §1501

Where can I lawfully consume marijuana?

Using marijuana in any form (smoking, eating or vaping) isn’t allowed in public places, including amusement parks, ski resorts, sporting and music venues, state and national parks, campsites, playgrounds, sidewalks and roads, marijuana retail businesses, bars, restaurants and outdoor or rooftop cafes.

So where can you use it? Marijuana use is legal within the confines of private property. Just keep in mind that property owners, landlords, and rental companies can ban the use and possession of marijuana on their premises.

See: 28-B M.R.S. §1501(2)(A)

What are the rules around federal property?

Marijuana is legal under State of Maine law. Federally, it is not legal. If you’re on federal property, such as a national park or a border crossing, you can’t even have it in your possession.

See: 21 U.S.C. § 812

What are the laws on driving and marijuana use?

It is illegal to use marijuana in a vehicle. This goes for both the passenger and the driver.
It is also illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. You could be charged with an OUI.

See: 28-B M.R.S. §1501(2)(B)(1), 29-A M.R.S. §2411

How much marijuana can I possess?

Adults 21 years of age or older can possess up to 2.5 ounces of a combination of marijuana, marijuana concentrate and marijuana products, including no more than 5 grams of marijuana concentrate.

See: 28-B M.R.S. §1501(1)(B)

How many plants can I grow?

Mainers can grow marijuana for personal use. As many as three mature, 12 immature plants, and an unlimited number of seedlings are allowed per resident 21 years of age or older.

These restrictions do not apply to the cultivation of marijuana for medical use by a qualifying patient, a caregiver, a registered caregiver or a registered dispensary as authorized by the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act.

See: 28-B M.R.S. §1502(1)

What are some of the rules related to growing marijuana for personal use?

First, keep it out of sight. An adult who chooses to grow plants for personal use must make sure their marijuana is not visible from a public way without the use of binoculars or other visual aid.

See: 28-B M.R.S. §1502(2)(A)

Second, make sure it’s locked up. An adult who chooses to grow their own plants must take reasonable precautions to prevent unauthorized access by individuals under the age of 21.

Finally, make sure the ownership of the plants is clear to law enforcement that may come across them. If you’re growing marijuana for personal use, the plant(s) must be tagged with a legible label that includes your name, driver’s license or state identification card number, and a notation that the plant(s) are being grown as authorized by law.

For example:
Connor S. Sample, Jr.
ID: 1234567
Personal Adult Use: Title 28-B, Section 1502

If the parcel or tract of land you are growing on is owned by someone else, you must have their written permission to grow and care for your plants and include the landowners name on each plant’s label.

See: 28-B M.R.S. §1502(1)(C) and (2)(C)

Medical Use

Patients

Who can buy medical marijuana?

Only medical patients can buy medical marijuana in Maine. Individuals who have received a patient certification from a medical professional may legally access medical marijuana from a caregiver or dispensary. Cards are available to Maine residents only.

Patients visiting Maine from another state may be able to purchase medical marijuana from a registered caregiver or dispensary if they have valid patient identification credentials (like a registry or patient identification card) and their state of residence allows them to use their state-issued credential to purchase medical marijuana in Maine.

How many dispensaries does Maine currently have in operation?

Maine has eight dispensaries. A list is available online here: https://www.maine.gov/dafs/omp/medical-use/dispensaries

Please note: dispensaries are not to be confused with caregivers. A caregiver may operate one retail store to sell their products.

What is the difference between a dispensary and a caregiver retail store?

Until recently, dispensaries were required to by nonprofit entities and there was only one per Maine Department of Health and Human Services Public Health District. At present, the most notable difference is that dispensaries can grow an unlimited number of marijuana plants.

How much does it cost to obtain a patient certification?

The cost for a patient certification depends on the medical provider conducting the examination and issuing the certification.

The Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program provides patient cards to registered providers. In order to ensure patient access to the program, the State of Maine has never charged medical providers for the cards they provide to qualifying patients.

If an individual is interested in obtaining a medical card, they may wish to have those discussions with their primary care physician or other trusted medical provider. They may find in doing so that they are able to obtain a card at little to no cost to them.

Are temporary/digital/electronic patient certifications valid?

No. Temporary and/or digital medical marijuana patient cards or certifications are not an acceptable form of identification for the purposes of obtaining marijuana for medical use in Maine.

To be a qualifying patient in Maine’s program, among other things, an individual must possess “a valid written certification. ” A written certification is only valid if it is “a document on tamper-resistant paper signed by a medical provider. “. These requirements are written into law and aim to preserve the integrity of the medical marijuana program by reducing the possibility of altering and tampering with valid medical certifications.

The Office of Marijuana Policy provides medical providers with tamper-resistant patient certification paper at no cost.

Where can I find statistical information on the medical program?

You may be interested in reviewing the annual reports or open data of the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program.

Caregivers/Dispensaries/Medical Providers

What do I need to apply for or renew a registry identification card (caregiver, caregiver assistant, dispensary employee, etc.)?

Download, complete, and submit the appropriate medical use application. Among other things, you will need to provide a copy of your Maine-issued driver’s license or identification card as proof of residency.

Please review all materials for completeness prior to submission to ensure their timely consideration and processing.

In accordance with Governor Mills’ civil emergency declaration and corresponding executive order, the Office of Marijuana Policy will accept Maine driver’s licenses or identification cards that expired on or after March 15, 2020 as valid for the purposes of registry identification card applications and renewals. The executive order issued by Governor Mills deems these forms of identification extended until 30 days after the termination of the ongoing civil emergency.

How long does it take to get my caregiver card?

Current law requires the Department to approve or deny an initial application or a renewal within 30 days of receipt. In the case of an approval, a registry identification card must be issued within five days of approval.

The average time frame to approve an application is currently one month.

See: 22 M.R.S. §2425-A

How much do caregiver cards cost?

The cost for a registry identification card varies depending on the number of plants being grown. At most, a registered caregiver may grow 30 mature plants or 500 square feet of mature plant canopy and 60 immature marijuana plants. Applications fees corresponding to total plant count with fees growing incrementally by $240.

Mature Plants Immature Plants Fee
6 12 $240
12 24 $480
18 36 $720
24 48 $960
30 60 $1,200

See: 22 M.R.S. §2425-A, 10-144 C.M.R. ch. 122, § 8(C)(1)

Where can I find information on which states authorize their residents to use their medical marijuana credential while visiting Maine?

OMP’s guidance on visiting patients and a list of approved states can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/dafs/omp/medical-use/certification-process/visiting-patients.

Can I conduct sales to a visiting patient who presents a medical marijuana credential and a form of identification from two different states?

No. A visiting medical marijuana patient must possess photographic identification or a driver’s license from the same jurisdiction as their valid medical marijuana credential.

See: 22 M.R.S. §2423-D.

General

Can I use marijuana if I am on probation?

For individuals on probation, there are rules and restrictions for marijuana that must be followed. Contact a probation officer to find out more.

Who assists the Office of Marijuana Policy with rulemaking?

Does Maine track and trace (seed-to-sale) marijuana products?

Maine requires the tracking and tracing of marijuana and marijuana products in both our adult use and medical use programs. OMP is in the process of deploying a software solution with Metrc to allow licensees and registrants to enter their information.

Can I travel outside of Maine with marijuana?

It’s illegal to leave Maine with any marijuana products—medical or recreational. Do not cross state lines or approach border crossing with marijuana in your possession. Mailing marijuana from Maine is also illegal.

See: 21 U.S.C. § 812, CBP Statement on Canada’s Legalization of Marijuana and Crossing the Border

Why does OMP use the term ‘marijuana’ instead of ‘cannabis’?

Marijuana is the legal term used in Maine law to describe the product and establishments we regulate and license.

How to grow marijuana now that it’s legal in Maine

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The way Scott Eccleston looks at it, if a person can grow a tomato, he or she can grow marijuana.

“There’s a reason they call it ‘weed,’” Eccelston, the owner of Maine Seedlings and Clones in Biddeford, said. “Treat it like any other plant in your garden and it will grow.”

Last November voters approved a referendum that allows residents to grow marijuana plants for their own personal, recreational use.

According to the law itself, a resident must be 21-years-old to grow marijuana for his or her personal use. He or she can possess an unlimited amount of seeds, no more than 12 immature plants and no more than six flowering plants.

Growers can keep the entire harvest from their six flowering plants. Any indoor growing must be done in the grower’s own residence. Outside plants may be grown on the grower’s property on on a friend’s property with written permission from the property owner, according to the law.

All outdoor plants must not be visible other than from the air or by binoculars and all plants must be tagged with the owner’s driver’s license or other identification number.

But now that it is legal to grow your own in Maine, how do you get started and not go overboard?

“The problem is so many people spend a ton of money getting lights and other indoor growing stuff,” Eccelston said. “My suggestion is, if you have never grown before, don’t spend a lot of money on an indoor system, [instead] grow it outside and see how it goes.”

Novelty of legally growing cannabis aside, Eccelston, who has been growing medical marijuana for a decade, said there are not a lot of differences between that and traditional vegetable gardening.

“Find a nice sunny spot, prepare the ground, put in some good compost and you are pretty set,” he said. “You can spend a ton on nutrients or you can research different things that are available in nature — like using seaweed.”

Steve Rusnack, owner of Full Bloom Cannabis in Fort Kent, said it is easy to complicate the marijuana growing process, but also easy to oversimplify it.

“Do your research,” Rusnack said. “It can be simple, but if you want a quality plant, be prepared to put some time into it.”

Rusnack and Eccelston both recommend growers get a copy of “Marijuana Horticulture: The Indoor-Outdoor Medical Grower’s Bible” and keep it handy at all times.

“It really is the bible for growers,” Rusnack said. “I have one in every room of my growing facility.”

Lights, air, water, action!

At its most basic level, Rusnack said, any marijuana plant needs three things to grow — light, air and water.

“You also need a clean environment,” he said. “So I tend to believe more in growing indoors where the environment can be controlled.”

Cleanliness is important, Eccelston said, but indoor growing systems can be vulnerable to parasitic or other insect attacks.

“Outside there are pests that can get into your plants like leaf aphids,” he said. “But their natural predators like ladybugs will keep them in check.”

Inside, Eccelston said, if a pest like the dreaded spider mite finds its way into a plant, it can destroy the entire crop.

“As far as growers are concerned, spider mites are the devil,” Rusnack said. “Once you have them, they do more than cause some damage and they can devastate the entire crop.”

Neither Eccelston nor Rusnack use chemical pesticides when they grow.

“My philosophy is, instead of spraying, you are better off just starting over again,” Rusnack said. “So it’s important to closely inspect your plants and to make sure you don’t bring the mites in on other plants or on your own clothes if you have visited another greenhouse or growing facility.”

Instead of seeds, send in the clones

Marijuana does grow from seeds, but Eccelston said they can be difficult and expensive to obtain.

“Check around and find where you can buy clones,” he said. “It can be really easy to get a cutting off a quality plant.”

At his store, Eccelston sells a variety of cuttings and clones — the top three inches of of a healthy plant — and recommends growers purchase a quarter number of clones to get the amount of plants they ultimately want as they will produce additional plants.

The cuttings or clones, he said, should be placed in a piece of moist sphagnum moss and kept in humid conditions.

“I’m big on do-it-yourself,” Eccelston said. “Go to the grocery store and they will give you a clear plastic cake or pie dish with a top and bottom – when you put your plants and moss in there, close it up and you have a humidity tank.”

After seven to to 10 days in the tank, the plants are ready to be transplanted into the ground.

“From then on, treat it like any other vegetable or flower you’d plant in your garden,” Eccelston said. “If it’s a bit cool outside, bring them in a night for the first several days to harden them off.”

Rusnack said he tends his plants daily — watering, checking for mites and trimming them.

“I only plant and grow the females,” he said. It’s the females that produce the flower and buds that hold the medicinal values.”

Male plants, Rusnack said, are only needed if a grower wants to produce actual seeds.

Sexing the plants based in seeds is nearly impossible, he said, unless a grower obtains seeds specifically bred to be females.

“Once the plants are growing, it takes about four to six weeks before you see signs of being male or female,” Rusnack said. “On the females you will see the tiny white hairs — or pistils — sticking out of the plant’s calyx.”

The calyx is the outermost part of the plant that forms the flower.

For those interested in obtaining seeds, The Cannabis Seed Bank of Maine offers a variety of seeds designed for the state’s growing climate.

The facility also offers the state’s only cannabis growing courses and seed exchange.

Plant for Maine’s shorter growing season

There are marijuana plants that will grow well in Maine’s short growing season, Eccelston said, like the variety Northern Lights.

“They can grow a long time in a vegetative state and don’t flower until the light cycle shortens,” he said. “So they grow all summer and then when August comes along and the days start to get shorter the plant is triggered to put out flowers and buds.”

In Maine, he said, harvest typically is in late October or early November.

To harvest simply pull the plant out of the ground when it’s ready.

“You want to look at the part of the bud called the ‘trichomes,’” Eccelston said. “They make the bud look like there is a frost on it.”

He recommends getting a smartphone attachment that turns the device into a magnifier. He also suggested going online to look at the myriad of videos people have produced showing the growing process.

“If the trichomes look like little mushrooms, the plant is starting to mature,” Eccleston said. “When the trichomes turn milky they are ready to harvest and when they turn amber they are at their best.”

Once harvested, the plants should be put in a brown bag for three to seven days and shuffled around daily, to prevent mold.

“They are ready to come out when you can bend the sticks of the plant and they break, but not with a brittle snap,” Eccelston said. “Then take the buds off and put them in a mason jar and let them cure for 30 days.”

Ideally, the moisture level in the jar should be at 60 percent — something any inexpensive hyrdrometer can read.

“At that point the marijuana is ready and it’s time to celebrate,” Eccelston said.

A resident must be 21-years-old to grow marijuana for his or her personal use and can possess no more than 12 immature plants and six flowering plants. ]]>