Frequently Asked Questions – An Act to Legalize Marijuana
There has been a lot of confusion surrounding the Legalize Maine initiative that will appear on the ballot this November. People deserve straight answers to their questions and we have established a FAQ for that purpose. If you have additional questions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will add new questions and answers to the FAQ.
To read the entire initiative ONLINE INITIATIVE
How will this initiative affect the medical marijuana program?
It does not affect it at all. See language below:
- Relation to the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act. This chapter may not be construed to limit any privileges or rights of a qualifying patient, primary caregiver, registered or otherwise, or registered dispensary under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act.
Why do you think legislation is good for patients?
We took special care to make sure this initiative does not affect the medical program. But let’s talk a little bit about the medical program.
It might be the best in the country, but that doesn’t mean it is perfect and will not change over time. Caregivers are subject to very few regulations, especially compared to the dispensaries. It would be naive to expect things to stay the way they are. Caregivers can expect much more stringent regulations in the future, regardless of whether legalization passes this November.
One of the biggest failures of the medical program is the restricted list of conditions. There are thousands of people with medical conditions that do not have legal access to cannabis today under the current program. Legalization will increase access for many Mainer’s in need of this vital medicine. Not to mention, many Mainer’s can’t afford to pay $300 to a doctor every year to get their recommendation. Our initiative will allow ALL adults 21 and over to purchase marijuana.
Another benefit of legalization is the ability to more easily conduct medical research on the benefits of cannabis. If legalization fails, it will set back progress that needs to be made to help patients.
Will home cultivation be allowed?
Any adult aged 21 and over will be allowed to cultivate at their home:
- 6 Flowering Plants
- 12 Vegetative Plants
- Unlimited Seedlings
- Allowed to possess on same property all of the cannabis cultivated on that property.
There were two campaigns and now there is one, what happened?
We started a campaign to give Mainers a chance to choose an alternative to MPP’s initiative. During last summer and fall, it became abundantly clear that both of our campaigns had a very real chance of making the ballot. We knew that if there was two legalization initiatives on the ballot, the chances of either of them passing were slim. That got us and MPP talking and we decided to unify ensuring we had the best chance of success. The initiative that Maine will be voting on in November is Legalize Maine’s homegrown bill unchanged and in its entirety. MPP is running the campaign to pass the initiative we wrote. We consider this a big success and Mainer’s should be proud of our initiate language.
Why are there limits to cultivation space?
Even if Maine passes legalization, it will still be Federally illegal. We have guidance from the Federal government regarding how they want states to regulate marijuana. In order to insure that Maine’s law is not challenged, we must adhere to the Department of Justice’s Cole Memo: http://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/3052013829132756857467.pdf
The cap can be adjusted in the future based upon actual retail sales volume. If demand is not being met by supply, the legislature has the ability to increase the cultivation space.
We should not forget that the 2009 medical marijuana initiative that set up the current dispensary system did not set a number of dispensaries that would be registered with the state. Because there was no number set in the initiative, the state decided to limit the number to eight (one per health district). This lead to many being denied the opportunity to participate in the dispensary market and the state has not increased the number of dispensaries since then.
Will small scale caregivers be able to participate in the legalized market?
Yes, the 40% set aside is a wonderful opportunity for caregivers who can cultivate quality cannabis. It will allow them to expand at their current locations and not be subject to the restrictions imposed upon them by the current medical program.
Keep in mind there is a preference for caregivers who want to move into the adult-use market. The medical marijuana community has been risking their livelihood’s to serve patients and deserve to lead the adult-use market.
Caregivers have told us for years that they are tired of the plant limits and restricted number of patients they can serve. Now is the chance to expand and better provide for your families and create jobs for your community.
How many licenses will be issued for cultivation spaces greater than 3,000 sq ft.?
We won’t know until after the state issues licenses.
It is not practical to expect the entire regulated retail cannabis production to come from people growing it in their garages. A certain economy of scale is required to produce quality tested cannabis in the volumes necessary to keep stock on the shelves of retail stores in the entire State of Maine.
We set the maximum sized cultivation facility (vegetative and flower) at 30,000 sq. ft.. Which is too small for the big “mega farm” operations. That will keep them out of Maine.
Our initiative also allows the legislature to increase the amount of cultivation space, if supply is not meeting demand.
Why is there a federal criminal background check?
Due to the fact that cannabis is a federally controlled substance, the state has an interest in assuring criminal interests do not obtain licenses. Therefore, an FBI criminal background check is required in order to obtain a license for retail, cultivation, laboratories and manufacturing of cannabis products.
The State Police cannot perform this background check because they do not have access to the FBI database, this is one issue that caused State and Federal law enforcement to miss the 9/11 terrorists. The FBI only receives the finger prints to perform the background check, they do not receive any information concerning the application. This is the same background check done for our school teachers here in Maine. Below is the language for qualifying for a license:
2447 License Application and issuance
A person who has been convicted of a disqualifying drug offense may not be a licensee. For purposes of this paragraph, “disqualifying drug offense” means a conviction for a violation of a state or federal controlled substance law that is a crime punishable by imprisonment for 5 years or more. “Disqualifying drug offense” does not include an offense for which the sentence, including any term of probation, incarceration or supervised release, was completed 10 or more years prior to application for licensure or an offense that consisted of conduct that is permitted under this chapter.
Why does the initiative not include clemency for people currently in jail?
Maine law does not allow it. Only the Governor has that power under the Maine Constitution.
Cannabis is just a plant, shouldn't it be liberated with no regulations?
Unfortunately, we live in a world where the federal government categorizes marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug. Also, we live in a world where the government requires a license just to paint toenails. It is unlikely we will ever reach a utopia where this wonderful plant is truly liberated.
One other point people should consider if the plant was actually liberated. Liberty belongs to everyone, wouldn’t that open the door for Phillip Morris and Monsanto to come in and grow unlimited amounts of low cost cannabis?
Won't the legislature just change the initiative to remove all the good things that are in it?
The legislature has the option to add language to a citizens initiative to fill “holes” where the initiative was not clear or did not address, or if there is need for funding sections of the initiative. An example of this is the 2009 medical marijuana initiative where the initiative did not have language which prohibited a patient registry, so the state added language to create a patient registry. This is the same case with the initiative not setting a minimum or maximum number of dispensaries, because of that the state decided on eight dispensaries.
There is a strong history of the Maine legislature respecting the voters will, as we saw in 2011 with the passage of LD1296 that changed the medical marijuana law to help patients and caregivers. It does not mean that citizens should stop being involved after the initiative passes, but you can be assured that the Legalize Maine team will be involved to ensure that the intent of the initiative remains true.
Why is the campaign called Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol?
We need to remember that there will probably be over 800,000 votes cast in the election this fall. A very small percentage of those people are a part of the cannabis community. The general population considers alcohol and cannabis to be very similar in a most important aspect. They are both intoxicants, meaning you catch a buzz or get high.
The general population is in support of requiring licensing and regulation in the production and sale of alcoholic beverages. Polling and focus groups tells us that the majority of people will not support cannabis legalization unless it is regulated to protect children and tested for consumer safety.
To the average citizen, regulate like alcohol means the following:
- Purchase and consumption is limited to those over the age of 21
- There are restrictions to advertising to protect children
- Retailers and producers are required to be licensed, taxed and regulated by the state
Stressing these parts of the initiative offers the best message to the general population and provides the best path to victory.