Written By Liz Gold
As Maine’s largest medical cannabis organization, the Wellness Connection fields many questions from individuals interested in cannabis. And it makes sense – though recreational use was approved by voters in 2016, legislation is still unclear on the way forward. As a result, we operate under Maine’s Medical Cannabis Program to provide consistent, safe access to medical cannabis to qualified patients.
Do I need a medical card to buy marijuana (weed) in Maine?
Yes. If you are currently using medical cannabis, you must possess a medical card certifying a need for a qualifying condition. A medical card can be obtained through the recommendation of a physician. The Wellness Connection offers convenient medical card certification on site.
An individual may register as a medical marijuana patient if his or her doctor certifies that the individual suffers from one or more of the following conditions:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Chronic pain
- Crohn’s disease
- Hepatitis C
- HIV or AIDS
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Nail patella syndrome
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Patients can purchase marijuana from registered marijuana dispensaries, a registered caregiver, or grow their own.
If you are currently using medical cannabis, you must renew your certification annually to continue to legally buy cannabis. Caregivers and dispensaries will only permit sales to properly qualified and registered patients.
There are protections for patients under Maine’s medical cannabis program that do not extend to those individuals who consume recreationally. They include:
- Qualified patients cannot be denied any right or privilege by landlords, employers or schools.
- Courts may not rule against an individual in some domestic cases (i.e. divorce, custody) solely for being a qualified medical cannabis patient.
- Qualified patients cannot be subjected to arrest, prosecution, penalty, or disciplinary action for lawfully using medical cannabis.
- Hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices may permit qualified patients to ingest medicine at some facilities.
- Minor children (under the care of their physician/parental guardian) can legally ingest cannabis, and if needed, possibly in a school setting.
- Medical cannabis patients will enjoy a reduced tax (5.5 percent) on all of their purchases. When retail cannabis is eventually sold over the counter, there will be a significantly higher sales tax.
According to the Marijuana Policy Project, possession of small amounts and limited home cultivation are legal. Possession of two and a half ounces or less or marijuana is legal for adults 21 and older. Adults may also cultivate up to three mature marijuana plants at their residence or on another adult’s property with the owner’s permission.